Eastern Europe in the Post-War World

By Hubert Ripka | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
Challenge to Soviet Hegemony

A THREATENED UNITY

The Russians also had to prepare to maintain large armed forces in Hungary in order to stop fresh outbursts of revolution, for they realized that discontent was still smouldering under the hot ashes. Propaganda and security police were used to prevent the revolutionary contagion from spreading to other enslaved countries. Signs of unrest appeared everywhere. Feverish attacks on 'revisionism', 'liberalism', 'bourgeois nationalism' and 'national Communism' by Communist leaders in these satellite countries, and constant appeals for increased 'vigilance' against 'counter-revolutionary centres' were evidence enough of their fear of the hidden force of democracy. Even inside Russia there were signs of trouble. Moscow's spokesmen admitted that there was unrest in Lithuania but dared not add that it had also occurred in the Ukraine. Lithuania's discontent suggested that there was desire for freedom in all the Baltic nations.

The Moscow intelligentsia, especially the younger members, doubted the official explanation that the Hungarian rising was a 'reactionary, Fascist, counter-revolution'. They were tormented by the belief that the Red Army's intervention was neither necessary nor justified. The men in the Kremlin were sufficiently shrewd to recognize these danger signals. The Hungarian rising and, to some extent, the Polish rebellion, had endangered their hegemony in an empire stretching from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. Their primitive reaction, based entirely on power politics, was to call for even greater rigidity of Marxist-Leninist orthodoxy. They rehabilitated Stalin. Khrushchev said: 'To make no concessions and to continue

-195-

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