The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse

By Alexander Dallin; Gail W. Lapidus | Go to book overview

began our inspection of the house. Even from the outside I had been overwhelmed by the size of the place. I entered a hall measuring about thirty by fifteen feet, with an enormous fireplace, marble paneling, parquet floor, large carpets, chandeliers, and luxurious furniture. We went on, passing through first one room, then a second, a third, and a fourth, each of which sported a television set. Also on the ground floor was an enormous veranda with a glass roof, and a small movie theater—cum—billiard room. I lost count of the number of bathrooms and lavatories. There was a dining room with an incredible thirty-foot-long table and behind it a kitchen big enough to feed an army, with a refrigerator that constituted a separate underground room. We went up the steps of a broad staircase to the second floor. Again there was a vast hallway with an open fireplace, and a door opened into the solarium, furnished with rocking chairs and chaise longues. After that came the study, the bedrooms, two more rooms, intended for I know not what, more lavatories and bathrooms. Everywhere was crystal, antique and modern chandeliers, oak and parquet floors.

When we finished the tour of inspection, the commander of the bodyguard, beaming with delight, asking me what I thought. I mumbled something inarticulate ; my wife and daughters were too overcome and depressed to reply. We were shattered by the senselessness of it all. I will not even bother to discuss such notions as social justice, the stratification of society, and the huge differences in standards of living; all that goes without saying. But what was the point of the whole thing? Why was it thought necessary to give expression to such an absurd degree to the fantasies of property, pleasure, and megalomania harbored by the party elite? No one, not even the most outstanding public figures of the contemporary world, could possibly find a use for so many rooms, lavatories, and television sets all at the same time.

And who pays for all this? The KGB....


26 Democratic Platform Program
of the CPSU, Statement
of June 1, 1990

This is the second draft program document dedicated to the setting out of the views and suggestions of "Democratic Platform" on the fundamental problems of perestroika. As a part of the party-wide discussion they are presented for the wide

-306-

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