Khrushchev's Russia

Khrushchev's Russia

Khrushchev's Russia

Khrushchev's Russia

Excerpt

One of our difficulties when it comes to understanding foreign countries is that we think of them almost exclusively in terms of foreign policy, whereas they are thinking of themselves much more in terms of domestic policy. This is natural and inevitable; but it is also unfortunate. It means, for example, that the Soviet Union is seen by us always in relation to our problems and hardly at all in relation to its own. To hear people talk, to read the Western newspapers, one would think that the Soviet Government devotes nine-tenths of its energies and ingenuity to making trouble for us, whereas in fact it is spending most of its time in trying to make the Soviet Union work. This, of course, cuts both ways. The Russians think of Britain or America almost wholly in terms of our foreign policies, whereas we know very well that most of our thoughts and most of the thoughts of our politicians are taken up by home affairs.

Hence the fundamental unreality which permeates the study of foreign countries. In face of the Soviet Union this unreality verges on the fantastic: we are so taken up by what the Russians say about us, which is usually vicious, and so little interested in what they say about themselves. It can surely do no harm if we make an occasional effort to see what the Soviet Union looks like from the inside and to discover what the Soviet Union is--especially in a time like the present when, year by year, Soviet society is changing very fast indeed.

At any rate in this volume I have taken certain things as known: the Soviet Union is ruled by people who call themselves Communists who are basically hostile to our way of life; Soviet foreign policy is restless and ruthless and, in intention, disruptive of Western society. And so on. What I have tried to do is to sketch, very broadly, the sort of society which seems to me to be emerging under Stalin's successors, and the sort of problem it is faced with, and what the leaders are doing to solve them.

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