[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
Moscow, August 1931
Interview by Jack Heinz II with Karl Radek
formerly Secretary to the Communist Secretariat.
We finally made
an appointment to see Karl Radek, editor of the Izvestia, and quite a famous
person in Russia. He belonged to the Trotsky “Right Deviation”, and
lost out in the Party machine when Trotsky fell. He is a man of amazing
appearance, with great horn-rimmed glasses, coarse features, and a set of
under-the-chin whiskers like the cartoons for Pat and Mike stories. He
looks as if he had tied a piece of fur around his face from ear to ear.
His English is atrocious, mostly on account of the inflection.
He spoke of
“A fine man, a
good engineer, but he does not know men!”
This was a little
surprising, but he may have meant that President Hoover is not conscious enough
of the public’s opinion and the attitude of his advisers.
“For the next
twenty years we shall be absolutely occupied with our internal development and
markets,” he said. “The masses need so much! The peasants, also,
want to have better clothing and commodities. Dumping is not done.
Could we receive a higher price for our products we would be very glad.
“It is nonsense
to say that Russia will be independent and self-sufficient. The more a
country develops, the greater its foreign trade relations will grow. Thus
we have every reason for peaceful relations, and for strengthening them.
The needs of the country are growing. I believe relations with foreign countries
will be better.
“There is a
greater feeling of power in the country. It is an argument for a quieter
policy. We are growing stronger in Russia. Every year more peasants
realize that the tractor is better than the horse. We are stronger.
He paused with a
display of considerable pride after these warmly spoken words, filled his pipe,
and lit it.
exclaimed in his strange imperative manner.
He spoke of
Soviet Russia’s attitude toward various European countries.
want Poland?” he asked, “If things in Europe stabilize why should we have a
common frontier with Germany? It would be worse to be next to a strong
Capitalistic nation (Germany). If there is a. revolution in Germany, how
can Poland stand between revolutionary Germany and revolutionary Russia?
Poland would probably revolt, too. We can wait and see.
Every nation must be its own savior. A feeble revolution in Germany would
be a great set-back for us. We would be obliged to help them. I do
not think that a German revolution is a concrete possibility. First,
because the German worker realizes that Germany’s location between imperialist
France and Poland would force him to fight, from the very first day, against
intervention. Second, Germany is dependent upon foreign nations for raw
materials and food. This was not the case with Russia.
war, France made Russia a tool against Germany by her loans to Russia. Now
the situation is different. We can do without loans. We shall no
longer be the tool of the policy of others.
“As long as two
worlds exist there is always a danger. If Poland or Romania attacked
Russia it would have the support of other Capitalistic countries. The
sharpening of the crisis in Poland gives an opportunity to adventurers.
But on the other hand, war with Soviet Russia would be very difficult.”
newspaper articles have been spreading the cry of intervention, but I think he
himself does not believe in that theory.
“With the new
Franco-Russian relations, will Russia’s attitude towards the Versailles Treaty
be modified?” Jones asked.
“At a time when
the Versailles Treaty is crashing on all sides,” replied Radek, “it would be
nonsense to think that Russia would defend it. The treaty will not be a
basis for world relations.
France have great resources; they will prosper at the expense of England and
Germany. But the Capitalistic world cannot have general prosperity!
The greatest danger for England is not English Communism but American
“Russia is the
country with the worst propaganda. It is weak in spreading propaganda
because foreign newspapers suppress it. But every Ford car makes
propaganda for America. The Soviet government only makes propaganda when
Litvinoff speaks in Geneva I know of no evidence that we spread propaganda in
This is Radek’s
plan to improve American-Russian relations:
“We are a country like America,” he said. “Without your help, development would go slower. But there is no power that can check us.
would mean the destruction of Germany and Poland. We do not intend to
intervene in other countries.
decide which is the better system.”
Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-17 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices. For all further details email: Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44) 0796 303 8888