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The New York Times. 19 June 1931


Stalinists Act Independently of Foreign Reds to Consolidate Russia’s Position.


Bolsheviki See Other Powers Unable to Unite on Boycott, Much Less Intervention.


Soviet Leaders Consider United States Too Much Absorbed to Take Interest in Europe.

This is the fourth of a series of articles on Russia today by The New York Times Moscow correspondent, who is at present its Paris.


Special Cable to The New York Times.

PARIS, June 15. — When Lenin founded the Communist International in the early Spring of 1919 it was a good deal of a question as to whether his basic purpose was an orthodox Marxist gesture or an act of Soviet defense.

As it happened, the Comintern harmonized with both purposes, but Lenin had a lot of practical opportunism as the New Economic Policy showed, and he was not blind to the immediate advantage of forming an international organism to direct and coordinate the forces in capitalist countries that would work for the Soviet Stale and help counteract the forces working against it.

The evolution of Stalinism toward “Soviet Socialist sufficiency” at first made it important to retain such sources of support abroad as the foreign Communist parties offered, and there was a period when the foreign Communist parties were severely disciplined by Moscow to tune them exactly to the Kremlins note. America is a case in point, as Messrs. Lovestone and Pepper will bear witness.

Disunity of Capitalists Seen.

More recently it has become apparent, first, that the five-year plan—which, as previously stated, is a practical expression of Stalinism—is more successful than had been originally expected (“five years in four” is now the most popular slogan in the Soviet Union), and, second, that the rest of the world is unable or unwilling to unite against Soviet Russia even for economic boycott, much less active intervention.

Reluctant as the Bolsheviki are to abandon the bogy of intervention or boycott—partly because of its solidifying and energizing effect on the masses and partly because the Bolsheviki have come to believe in it themselves by sheer dint of repetition—their growing strength as a result of the progress of industrial construction and rural collectivization has had the effect of substituting consciousness of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics as a world power for the somewhat panicky feeling of a proletarian pariah in a capitalist world.

The world economic depression doubtless has had much influence in developing this new outlook, but that belongs more properly to a later article about Soviet foreign trade. At any rate, It is a fact—and apparently one of the salient facts in modern history—that during the past eighteen months the Soviet Union has concluded something in the nature of an economic alliance with Germany and Italy has given China a sharp lesson in the Chinese Eastern Railway affair, has called Japan brusquely to order in the matter of the Bank of Korea branch at Vladivostok, has been rudely curt to Secretary Stimson and is now engaged In far- reaching economic negotiations with France and Great Britain.

In the present juncture it is the latter phase that is politically the most interesting. Three months ago it seemed that the Soviet Union was bent on building up or at least supporting a bloc of nations opposed to the Versailles treaty and French hegemony in Europe. France and her allies, Poland and the Little Entente, still loomed large as a bogy in Soviet eyes. England, it seemed to Moscow, was important or disinterested in European affairs, with a minority Labor Government that might fall tomorrow.

Suddenly, almost overnight, came the Labor Government’s pact with Lloyd George and a spurt of British diplomatic activity to which Moscow reacted immediately. The anti-Versailles bloc that looked good against France and her allies became a chimera when England took a hand to influence Italy and Germany

For Stalinism requires peace for success of its five-year plan, and if Great Britain who still remains the arbiter of the European continent, had decided to work hard for peace. It was silly for the Soviet Union to play a game of hostile blocs, the effect of which would be to bring war nearer even though making it less dangerous for the Soviet Union. Hence Foreign Commissar Litvinoff’s surprising speech at Geneva and the negotiations now proceeding with France, which both France and the Soviet Union are trying to depreciate, disguise and almost disavow.

That Germany 1ooks at them askance and that Italy is not pleased do not affect to Bolsheviki, who play world politics according to Bismarck’s rules and know that an ace and king of trumps beat a queen or jack. In this flow big game the Communist parties of France, England or Germany are an annoyance and hindrance, not a help, but the Bolsheviki rationalize that into a little deuce of trumps, whose fear-effect on their opponents may possibly take a useful trick.

Meanwhile the Soviet Union goes steadily ahead with its economic penetration of Chinese Turkestan, Mongolia and Manchuria, to say nothing of Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan, and without expenditure of effort or money the Soviet Union watches Chinese misrule sow new seeds of communism in the once Celestial empire.

Toward the United States the Soviet Union is now indifferent—or, as a prominent official said to the writer, “For the time being we have written off America—because it thinks America is too absorbed in her own affairs to take an active or intelligent interest in Europe.

It thinks the American State Department more silly than malicious, and its animosity against Representative Fish and fellow “Red hunters” scarcely extends beyond newspaper cartoons.

© The New York Times. 1931.  N.B. The executive editor of The New York Times, Bill Keller, told The Washington Post on October 23 2003, that the newspaper would have no objection if the Pulitzer Prize Board wanted to revoke Mr. Duranty's award. Mr. Keller called Mr. Duranty's work "pretty dreadful. ... It was a parroting of propaganda." It will be taken as read that no royalties are due on this un-authorised reproduction of this article  As such they are also perceived, as having no truthful value whatsoever, are only reproduced  for academic and educational purposes, not intended to defraud The New York Times of any morally legitimate royalty revenue and are published without financial gain. In any event, the copyright for the above may well only reside, 70 years after its publication with the heirs of Walter Duranty, and with whom we have no personal animosity whatsoever. Nevertheless, any contention of copyright violation may by taken up under the jurisdiction of English Law. My service address for any legal correspondence is: Nigel Linsan Colley, 1, Crown Street, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, NG24 4UY. Any prosecution will, you can be assured, be defended in the public domain.


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