THE SOVIET UNION TODAY
Topics and Texts for Discussion*
- V. I. Lenin, the founder of the first socialist state.
- The Great October Socialist Revolution, a turning point in the history of mankind.
- The USSR, a voluntary union of free nations.
- The new Constitution of the USSR.
- Fundamental human rights guaranteed to Soviet citizens.
- The Soviet socialist way of life.
- Large-scale construction in the USSR.
- Contribution of Komsomol members to the economic development of the country.
- The USSR, a champion of peace and co-operation among nations.
- The USSR, an active member of international organisations; growing international contacts.
- An outstanding personality (a statesman, a scientist, an artist, a distinguished worker).
- Holidays and festivals in the Soviet Union.
THOUGHTS ON THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION
In 1917 the common people - no longer passive - moved out into the centre of the stage. Sweeping aside their one-time rulers and their retainers, the people on the vast Eurasian plain extending from the Baltic to the Pacific brought their long latent abilities and energies into action.
Upon them, their adequacy to cope with the great historic task that history thrust upon them, Lenin staked the future of Russia and the Revolution. His supreme confidence sprang from his deep first-hand intimate knowledge of and belief in the people.
It was my good fortune, too, soon after coming to Russia in the spring of 1917, to gain this high respect and confidence in the power of the people - increased of course in later journeys to the Soviet Union. My insight came from first-hand contact with the people - from mingling with the workers in the factories of Petrograd and Nizhni Novgorod, from the soldiers in the barracks and from long talks with Bolsheviks. Out of this came a high respect for their endurance, tenacity" abilities, readiness for new ideas and skills, inventiveness - all of it convinced me of their future success.
Thus, at the very outset of the Revolution, I had an advantage over most of the so-called experts on Russia, journalists, publicists,
historians. They might know the history of Russia, know the programs of the many parties and leaders, know the diplomats and foreign emissaries. But for the most part they really did not know the people. And it was the people who were the Revolution.
In every crisis the Soviet people have been magnificent, adequate to the demands made upon them.
In writing as I have about the Russian people, all the time I have been writing about Lenin. In mind and temper they are almost identical; for Lenin personified those outstanding Russian human qualities and characteristics - sympathy for the oppressed, hatred and anger at the oppressor, a passionate search for truth - in him they were developed to the highest degree, to the nth power, and lifted him into the ranks of genius. That word, "genius", is applied to him by almost every foreigner who came into close contact with him, who felt the impact of his personality.
As Lenin stepped up to the podium at the Smolny, he was greeted by a thundering applause. Stilling it with a wave of his hand, he said: "Comrades! We will now take up the building of socialism!"
This was spoken in a simple matter-of-fact manner and for the moment few in that tense assembly grasped the full import of those words. But, sitting by my side, John Reed - always alert to the crucial and the dramatic - hastily jotted them down in his notebook and heavily underscored them. He rightly discerned that in that sentence there was dynamite enough to shake the world, and - we may add - to continue to shake it to this day.
It declared that the socialist order for which generations had toiled and fought and died was henceforth the objective of the peoples of a sixth part of the earth.
(Abridged from "Through the Russian Revolution" by Albert R. Williams.)
CONSTRUCTION ON A GIGANTIC SCALE
"Siberia will add to the might of Russia." Ai. Lomonosov
The Soviet Union has an area of over 22 million square kilometres crossing eleven time zones from East to West and several climatic zones, as far apart as tundra and subtropics, from North to South. It is easier to compare the Soviet Union with continents than with countries: it is a little smaller than Africa, bigger than South America and three times as large as Australia. Economic development is going on all over these vast expanses.
How to build, what and where? A multitude of factors have to be taken into account before the time for decision-making comes. For it is not just a matter of "taking" oil, or gas or timber from Nature only to abandon the whole field afterwards like a depleted gold vein.
Every region earmarked for development is laid out as a territorial unit in its own right with everything necessary for human life. This applies to the environment as well: Man's relationship with Nature is seen today not as one designed to bring it into submission at any cost, but to invite it to co-operate on terms of mutual benefit.
The projects of pioneering development are sited in places with widely different natural conditions. For it is, indeed, just as senseless to speak about the North or Siberia in general as it is to speak so about Europe.
Tuymen Region lies within the latitudes of Finland, Sweden and Norway, that of Bratsk-Ust-Ilim and Sayany between latitudes 50° and 60° N., that is, in those of Britain, Holland, Poland or Denmark. It is there that the Baikal-Amur Railway is being laid.
But a geographic latitude is not enough by itself to provide a full idea of the natural conditions of the regions. There is no Gulf Stream over there to mollify winter cold as there is round the British Isles, and the taiga jungle and swamps are quite a problem for transportation.
And, all this notwithstanding, those regions do have a tremendous power of attraction, since they are of immense economic value, first and foremost. They contain four-fifths of this country's commercial coal and natural gas reserves, three-quarters of its timber, and about four-fifths of its water-power resources.
The potentialities of those areas are far from studied in full. Their exploration is still going on, and with a swing. The Siberian Branch Department of the USSR Academy of Sciences has its research centres in 50 cities and towns. Besides, there are about 80 seismic, permafrost, biological and comprehensive research stations on Siberian territory.
Man has advanced far into the North, having set up there not only his winter camps, stations or bases, but modern big cities as well. There are now 368 cities and big townships in the Northern regions of the USSR and in its Eastern regions. City •status is awarded to some twenty settlements every year, including those which have sprung up in pioneering development zones. And that means that they have crossed the quality frontier (in terms of amenities and population) which distinguishes a city from a trail-breakers' settlement.
One cannot fail to notice the consistency in implementing the programme to develop the Northern and Eastern regions. Total industrial production of Siberia and the Far East is now 450 times as great as it was in 1913.
* * *
In recent years the new term "territorial-industrial complex" has been used more and more frequently in the USSR. It is used in connection with the vast regions in which major branches of the
economy are being developed in an integrated, interrelated way, on a strictly scientific basis.
These complexes, like planetary systems around the sun, are formed in orbits around "electric suns" - the Bratsk, Ust-Ilim, Krasnoyarsk and Sayan-Shushenskoye hydroelectric power-stations.
One such complex, located in the Angara Valley, integrates the industry over an area exceeding the territories of Denmark and Holland.
This complex began to mushroom in the mid-1950s, when construction of the Bratsk hydroelectric power project got under way. In 1965 came the turn of the next project of the Angara cascade - the Ust-Ilim.
The Ust-Ilim station will generate electricity for a powerful timber industry complex in the area: 7,4 million cubic metres of timber will be annually harvested over an area of hundreds of thousands of hectares. But perhaps this will endanger the ecology of the district? Not at all. A system of protection and growth replacement of Siberian forest is being practised. Felled trees are being replaced by an equal number of newly planted saplings.
One cannot list all the enterprises which have been, are being, and will be constructed around the powerful Angara hydroelectric power projects. But all are immense, operating on the most up-to-date production processes and strictly observing the rules of environmental conservation.
In Siberia many definitions include superlatives: the longest rivers, the deepest lake (Baikal), the greatest investment, the biggest building projects... And the hardiest people, the temperatures here run from +40° to -50° Centigrade.
Whoever works east of the Ural Mountains feels himself in the centre of the stage. The primary reasons for this are not so much material incentives, but rather moral ones. The pioneering spirit, this is what comes first.
PROJECT OF THE CENTURY
The Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) is called with good reason the "construction project of the century".
For it is more than a railway - it is destined to lay the groundwork for the future intensive industrialization of over 1,5 million square miles of Eastern Siberia and solve the transport problems of a slumbering area as big as Western Europe.
It is not just the volume of work that makes BAM such a mammoth undertaking. Advancing at the rate of 200 miles a year, it is winding its way through some of the world's most difficult and varied terrain.
It will cross seven high mountain ranges, cut through virgin forest and waterlog swamps, pass over permanently frozen soil and through earthquake zones with hot subterranean springs; it will operate in places with temperatures that can drop to 60 degrees below zero or rise to 40 degrees above. Consequently, the railway has called for
the solution of many new technological problems and for completely new building materials and techniques.
Farmlands of great potential, reserves of timber, coal and iron ore oil and gas, diamonds, gold, copper and tin will have an outlet, when BAM is completed. Almost all the minerals of the earth are there.
Running several hundred miles north of the Trans-Siberian line, BAM follows a shorter route, which touches the northern tip of Lake Baikal.
The implementation of the project will relieve the intensive pressure of traffic on the present Siberian "land-bridge" which, as the speediest and most economical east-west cargo route, is becoming increasingly popular with foreign exporters.
An earlier plan for a second railway across Siberia had to be abandoned when the war broke out. The few hundred miles of track already laid down in the west were dismantled for use on the Stalingrad front.
BAM construction began in. 1972 under an updated plan geared to the expected technology of the next century, when Siberia's industrialization will be well and truly under way.
A branch line already reaches out to the north, probing the wealth of South Yakutia, where coal reserves alone are estimated at millions of tons.
The whole of mineral-rich Yakutia, which stretches to the Arctic Ocean, will eventually be crossed by the railway. It will pass through Yakutsk, the capital, and then continue to the north-east coast of Magadan, thus opening yet another Pacific outlet for cargoes to the East.
Engaged on the project are over 90,000 men and women, from cooks and construction workers to engineers and administrators, and their average age is 22.
In addition there are teams of ecologists, geologists, medical and other specialists who go before the builders all along the line. For in no way will the inroads of industry be allowed to upset the balance of nature and deprive future generations of the splendours of those untrodden lands.
BAM has become a Young Communist League project and 150,000 young people have responded to its call for volunteers. But it is not a job for the weak or faint-hearted, and nowadays no one gets to Siberia without first proving his or her worth on a construction site nearer home.
The workers are employed under contract and wages are three times the national average. But the incentive for most young people is the spirit of adventure and the desire to be part of a daring and history-making endeavour.
They expect to return home when they have completed their work, but.it does not always turn out like that. Stirred by the wonders of Siberia and the prospects of the good life they are helping to build in the towns that are mushrooming all along the route, many of them
marry, start a family, and finally decide to make the region rithe permanent home.
People of all the Soviet nationalities are working on the grand project. And as a young man from Georgia put it: "It's good we have come here together, like one big family - a real international. Life and work is much more interesting in such a family group."
BUILT BY STUDENTS
Every summer thousands of Soviet college and university students lay aside their textbooks, pack their rucksacks, put on their green uniforms and, by plane, train and boat, move off to various parts of the country. All these young people, members of building teams, take part in this mass movement of Soviet students.
It all happened when some Moscow students decided to try their hand at building a major project.
In 1959 Kazakhstan was developing its virgin and long-fallow lands. Thousands of people had come to work on the emerging giant grain-growing state farms. Housing for the newcomers was then one of the key problems,
On hearing this the Moscow students said they would build living quarters for these people. At that time few believed that students during their two months' vacation could give serious help, but the people in charge on the virgin lands agreed to let them try.
During that first summer 339 physics students of Moscow University built 16 small houses in Kazakhstan. Shortly, students from other Moscow institutes and from other Soviet cities followed suit and the building movement attained unexpected proportions.
Student teams have progressed from building modest houses in pvillages to erecting more sophisticated constructions, including industrial ones. Now plaques saying "Built by Students" and street names such as "Students Street" appear as autographs of the young builders in many Soviet towns and villages.
In this building work young people become fully aware of their responsibility. To a belief in their skill and ability, which is so vital to 20-year-olds, they respond with enthusiasm and selflessness. The quality of their work matches that of professional builders. All who join a summer building team are offered a special course in one of the branches of construction.
Experience showed that the students' life and work on building projects required some uniform regulations, which brought into being the Rules of the АН-Union Student Building Association. The Rules say that each student joins a team on a voluntary basis, each team enjoys extensive independence in the organization of its work and living conditions and maintains democracy within its ranks.
In the Association's Centre in Moscow, which co-ordinates the activities of all construction teams, hangs a map studded with little red flags all the way from Kaliningrad in the west to Kamchatsk in the east, from the northern Kola Peninsula to the Soviet southern
borders. There are about a hundred of them. They indicate the number of students' building teams in the various regions, territories and republics. But if one tried to mark the position of the groups working in each district the number of flags would exceed fifteen thousand. The amount of construction work accomplished by students over the last five years equals a town with a population of one million.
THE BASIC LAW OF THE COUNTRY
"Everything for the sake of man, for the benefit of man."
The 1977 Constitution represents the country's fourth Basic Law. The first constitution (RSFSR) was adopted in 1918. In legal terms it defined the birth of the country of socialism at the outcome of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 and the class essence of the new power.
Several years passed. In the meantime, the young country had gained strength and stood firmly on its feet. In 1922 the Russian Federation and other Soviet republics formed the USSR. The USSR Constitution of 1924 formalized the voluntary union of sovereign Soviet republics into one single socialist state and set out its principles.
The 1936 Constitution proclaimed the victory of socialism, it reflected the triumph of socialist relations in the country (by that time exploiting classes had disappeared), and brought into line with this system the organs of power and management, as well as the principle of elections. Universal, equal and direct right to elect by secret ballot was introduced.
In the past 40 years profound changes have- taken place in the country. A developed, mature socialist society has been created in -the Soviet Union. The Soviet State, which arose as the dictatorship of the proletariat, has grown into a state of the entire people whose highest aim is to build Communism. All this has found reflection in the new Constitution.
The right to work is considered to be the foundation of all our social and economic rights. The previous 1936 Constitution defined this as the right to guaranteed employment. The new Constitution extends this provision: now each and every person is not only ensured employment, but must also be provided the opportunity of choosing a profession, type of job and work in keeping with his or her inclinations, abilities and training.
Under socialism the right to work is fundamentally connected with the right to education. According to the new Constitution this right is ensured by the institution of universal, compulsory secondary education and broad development of vocational, specialized secondary and higher education.
The USSR Constitution of 1977 also proclaims and guarantees the right to rest and leisure, the right to health protection, the right to maintenance in old age, the right to housing, etc.
The political and personal rights and freedoms of Soviet citizens are formulated in the new Constitution more fully than in the previous constitution. Among them is the right to take part in the management and administration of state and public affairs, the right to submit proposals to state bodies and public organizations and critisize shortcomings in their work,
In accordance with the principles of the Soviet state the rights and freedoms of citizens of the USSR are inseparable from their obligations.
Citizens of the USSR are obliged to observe the Constitution of the USSR and Soviet Laws. It is the duty of every Soviet citizen to work conscientiously and maintain labour discipline. The sacred duty of every citizen of the USSR is to defend the Socialist Motherland.
Soviet society is a society of true democracy, the political system of which ensures effective management of all public affairs, ever more active participation of the working people in running the state, and the combining of citizens' real rights and freedoms with their obligations and responsibility to society. "It is a society," says the USSR Constitution, "in which the law of life is concern of all for the good of each and concern of each for the good of all."
FOR THESE STUDENTS JOBS ARE WAITING
Every year about 4 million Soviet teenagers finish ten-year general education school.
What happens to these school-leavers?
Many continue their education, which is tuition-free in the USSR. They enter one of the higher schools which have an enrollment of more than a million students in Moscow alone. In addition, there are thousands of junior technical colleges and vocational schools (educational establishments in which teenagers acquire industrial skills).
More than half the school-leavers, however, start working at once at factories, construction projects, on collective and state farms, and in various offices.
It is hardly necessary to explain what the first months of independent work and the first contacts with new people mean to any young worker. Not only the administration, but also the local organizations of the Komsomol see to it that the "adaptation" period goes smoothly and that the young workers enjoy all the privileges due them. The Komsomol also helps the young workers of an industrial enterprise to improve their skills.
Thus, secondary school-leavers have an alternative: to continue their studies or to start working at once. Does this mean that one excludes the other? Not at all. Many young workers are evening students at higher schools and technical colleges - working in the daytime and attending classes in the evening. Also, there are correspondence schools which provide materials for independent study, consultations with teachers, and examinations.
Of course, to combine work with study is not easy. That is why young workers receive additional paid leave to take exams and to do their school assignments. The administration of an industrial enterprise is not permitted to send students on long business trips or to give them work that will interfere with their studies. Last but not least, during their work on and defense of their diploma projects, they are given a four-month leave on average monthly pay.
Whichever way school-leavers choose - to work or to study - they know that they will acquire a trade or profession, an interesting job, and will be provided with ample opportunity to realize their ambitions.
CAR PLANT IS A REAL EYE-OPENER
(Colin Williams visits the Togliatti car factory)
The plant is a real eye-opener. Its layout permits a smooth continuous production flow from the foundry and metal shops, to the press shops, body welding, paint shops and eventually to the three main assembly lines.
The plant has not only been designed to ensure maximum efficiency of the production processes, but nothing seems to have been spared to make the working conditions exemplary.
Going through the works, I was struck by the spaciousness of the workplaces, the cleanliness and the excellent air-conditioning system. With the natural exception of the foundry and mould shops, 1 thought the conditions could not have been improved.
There are 33 canteens strategically 'situated, one storey up, so that it takes a worker a matter of five minutes or so to reach his place at the dining-room table from the production floor.
Each of the canteens seats 1.000 at a time, so a whole shift can be fed at a single sitting in about 20 to 30 minutes.
As I moved from one shop to another, I asked about the accident rate and got the same answer: "No major accidents this or last year" or "very little working time lost as a result of minor injuries".
The policlinic, situated in the factory grounds, boasts a super dental department with facilities in the main surgery for giving treatment to ten patients at a time.
Now the plant has got into its stride, the trade union has seven bases at resorts like Sukhumi and Sochi, where their members can take a holiday or a rest cure. Last year 30,000 received trade union vouchers for such holidays.
The plant works on a two-shift system - one shift starting at eight in the morning and the second shift at four in the afternoon. There is a break every two hours and an hour is allowed for the lunch break. The plant works a five-day week.
The deputy director told me that social and technological factors made a two-shift system the most suitable and economic for them.
One had to bear in mind, he said, that with 38 per cent of the workers being women, a third shift would entail additional siaff and reorganization of the creche-kindergarten facilities and so on. In general, anyway, they were opposed to night work as this disrupted social and family life.
But with all the excellent facilities available to the workforce, the fairly high level of wages and high standard of working conditions, there still remains a major social problem associated with the monotonous nature of mass production work.
To try and resolve this problem of monotony, workers are encouraged to acquire two or three skills and to raise their qualifications. This facilitates a change over to various other jobs on the assembly line and earlier promotion to more skilled operations.
All-in-all the set up of the factory and the town is impressive and if this is the model for the new industrial regions of the country, it says a lot for the superiority of Socialist planning, which places the emphasis clearly on the well-being of the people.
(From "Morning Star", March 30, 1976.)
EQUAL RIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES
The first Socialist state gave women not only equal rights but also equal opportunities to take advantage of these rights.
Special family and labour laws provide conditions necessary to Soviet woman's development of her intellectual and business capacities on an equal footing with men in the sphere of activity she has chosen.
92 per cent of all able-bodied women work or study; women account for about 60 per cent of all specialists with a higher and specialized secondary education. While 49 per cent of industrial workers are women, they constitute 73 per cent in education and 71 in culture and among scientists women account for 40 per cent.
That women play a truly big role in Soviet society is seen from the fact that they constitute about 30 per cent of all deputies in the USSR Supreme Soviet. The percentage is still higher in the Soviets of the Union Republics and the local Soviets. The number of women elected to the Soviet Parliament is steadily growing.
Thus, the Soviet experience shows that given equal rights and opportunities women can be equal to men in every respect.
THE LAST "NOMAD WOMAN" OF KAZAKHSTAN
She is called the last "nomad woman" of Kazakhstan by the members of her family when they help her pack and see her off for the umpteenth time. Sometimes she is away for weeks, and sometimes even for months.
Patchaim Tajibayeva's job takes her out to the steppes or to the mountains where from time immemorial nomad Kazakhs had been
driving their herds from watering place to watering place, and from pasture to pasture.
However, at the present time geologist Patchaim Tajibayeva's route takes her not over Kazakhstan alone, but from the capital of the republic, Alma-Ata, to Moscow, and thence to parts still farther away from home. She is a member of international associations, and often represents the Soviet Union at geological congresses and conferences. Her scientific papers have been published in India, Japan, Great Britain, Spain, Australia, France and Mexico.
She was born in a remote part of an old nomad area in the northern foothills of Tien Shan. The year was 1920, the third after the October Revolution. Everything was changing in the land of the Kazakhs - the customs, laws, and relations among people, their ideas of the world around them and about one another.
After a thousand years of domestic slavery, the Kazakh women secured equal rights with men. Patchaim was a little girl at the time.
From the very outset Soviet power declared war on illiteracy. Under a decree issued in 1919, all children, from the age of seven, were required to go to school.
Patchaim was clear in her mind as to what she would do on finishing school. The people she had looked up to most were teachers, and she therefore wanted to be one herself. She passed the entrance examination to the Alma-Ata Teachers' Training College, and completed the course with flying colours. But she did not become a teacher. The fast-changing times offered her a different profession, and she did not reject it.
In the late 30s, Soviet Kazakhstan changed beyond recognition It was no longer the backward, slumbering land it had been at the time of the October Revolution. Most of the nomads were now settled. The peasant farms were collectivised, and agriculture was developing. Huge deposits of minerals were discovered, and their extraction became the basis of the development of industry in the republic. All kinds of qualified specialists, technicians, engineers and scientists were in great demand, and Patchaim chose geology. She explains her choice as follows:
"In those days discoveries in geology followed one after another. A great deal was being written about the explorers. I was carried away by their daring and fortitude, by the romanticism of the profession.
She was sent to the neighbouring republic of Uzbekistan to continue her education. There, in Tashkent, under a decree signed by Lenin, the first state university in Central Asia had been opened in 1920. Tajibayeva joined its geological department.
She was in Tashkent when the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 broke out. She attended lectures in the morning and nursed the wounded in the hospitals at night.
In 1943 Patchaim Tajibayeva graduated from the University with honours. She was thinking of returning home, when the head of her department advised her to take a post-graduate course.
She defended her dissertation a year after the war ended.
In 1946, she returned to Alma-Ata, the first Kazakh woman Candidate of Geological and Mineral Sciences.
By that time new industrial enterprises and big research centres had sprung up in the republic, and the national Academy of Sciences was being set up. Tajibayeva was offered work in one of the future academic institutions, the Institute of Geology.
She was one of the first in the Soviet Union to employ new methods of mineral analysis - known as refined physical methods, - she laid the foundations in Kazakhstan for the national school of lithology, and headed a series of practical experiments being done in the republic connected with study of the earth's crust.
Thus, step by step, began the ascent to. the heights of geological science.
In 1960 she defended her dissertation for a Doctor's degree, and in 1967 was elected corresponding member of the Kazakhstan Academy of Sciences.
(From "Soviet Land", 1977)
A GREAT COMMONWEALTH OF PEOPLES
The nationalities inhabiting the Soviet Union include some numbering tens of millions and also some very small ethnic groups consisting of a few thousand or only a few hundred people.
All the peoples in the Soviet Union whether their number be large or small, have equal rights and opportunities for complete economic and cultural development. This is guaranteed by the Constitution of the USSR and confirmed by the history of the Soviet state from its inception.
All the peoples of the Soviet Union play an active part in the political, economic and cultural life of the country as a whole, and this exerts a strong influence in bringing them closer together to work for a common purpose. Many peoples whose level of economic and cultural development in the past was extremely low acquired a written language of their own only in the Soviet period. National literature and art are successfully developing and the traditions of national life are being carefully preserved.
What has taken place in the period of more than half a century since the Soviet state was formed has confirmed Lenin's view that the old feuds between the peoples would disappear and that all the peoples of the Soviet Union would achieve politically, economically and spiritually a completely new multi-national unity.
RUSSIA: A FREE UNION OF FREE NATIONS
The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) is one of the fifteen sovereign Soviet socialist states which have voluntarily joined together to form the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. All of them enjoy absolutely equal rights in the political and economic
system of the USSR and in cultural life. But in contrast to the other republics the RSFSR has a federative structure. The principle of socialist federalism on which the republic was created was later made the basis of the national and state structure of the whole country.
The emblem, of the RSFSR - the hammer and sickle surrounded by ears of wheat - indicates' that the welfare of the republic lies in the fields and in the workshops. Its Constitution introduced new principles in determining the relationships between the peoples constituting the new republic. These were the unqualified recognition of the equality of all nations, peoples and races; the right of the workers and peasants of each nation independently to choose their path of developing; the recognition of the sovereignty of each people and wide democracy in solving matters of the state.
At the moment the RSFSR contains sixteen autonomous republics, five autonomous regions and ten autonomous areas. Their people have received not only a name on - the political map of the country and not only the attributes of autonomy. The listing of their rights takes up several pages in the constitutions of the autonomous republics. Each of them has own higher organs of power - the Supreme Soviet and its Presidium, its government and its Supreme court. Each approves its budget and, in accordance with the legislation of the whole country, its state and local taxes. Each administers the industrial and agricultural enterprises on its territory, directs housing and communal construction, the health services, social maintenance, education...
And each, on an equal footing, participates in the administration of the whole state. Although differing greatly in territory and population, they elect an equal number of deputies - eleven from each to one of the chambers of the Soviet parliament - the Soviet of Nationalities. Deputies to the other chamber - the Soviet of the Union - are" elected on a uniform basis: one deputy from 300,000 citizens.
The composition of the body of deputies also gives an idea of the intellectual potential of the autonomous republics. Out of sixty deputies fifty-nine have secondary (mostly complete) or higher education.
Since Soviet power was established in Russia great changes have taken place in the cultural life of all nationality areas.
For instance, in Bashkiria before the October revolution only twelve Bashkir boys attended primary school. An educationalist of that period calculated that if the school network were to develop at that pace, Bashkiria would become literate by ... the year 2016.
Now Bashkiria, like the whole of the USSR, has completed in the main the transition to universal secondary (ten-year) education and has established its own higher school. "The Bashkir people," writes a French engineer, who has visited the republic, "have a university... where their children obtain a scientific education at the level of the most well-known educational establishments of the West."
This can be said about any of the autonomous republics. Fourteen of them have their universities, each of them boasts several institutes and technical colleges, they have national theatres and publishing houses and are developing national literatures. In every five-year-plan period general and secondary specialized education in the RSFSR is obtained by approximately 10 million, of all nationalities. In the Russian Federation there are 486 universities and institutes of higher learning - almost seven times as many as there were on this territory in 1914.
But the intellectual potential is a reflection of the economic potential. The industrial output of the whole of the Russian Federation has increased over the past 60 years more than 200 times, while in the Chuvash autonomous republic it has increased 512 times and in the Mari republic 372 times. The annual gross output in Bashkiria or Udmurtia now exceeds that of all prerevolutionary Russia. In a word, in all autonomous republics and also in autonomous regions and areas the rates of development are higher than in the RSFSR as a whole.
Soviet society, reads the Constitution of the USSR, guarantees the juridical and factual equality of all its nations and nationalities. And a case in point is the Russian Federation which has become a firm union of free nations.
LITHUANIAN CULTURE GROWS UNDER SOCIALISM
The first book ever printed in Lithuania was a Catholic catechism in the year 1547. Its opening lines read: "Brothers and sisters, take me and read me."
In 1547, however, there were few in Lithuania, or indeed elsewhere, who could take a book and read it. And in any case, despite this catechism, books were not generally published in Lithuanian, which was considered a language of the lower classes.
Thus, as a language, Lithuanian lived as precarious a life as did the people themselves. The history of Lithuania is also the history of the struggle for the right of its people to speak Lithuanian and in particular, to write in Lithuanian.
Forbidden by king and czar alike, it led an underground existence for years, taught to children at night by those few parents who knew how to read, in homes far from the eye of the spy and the ear of the informer.
Illiteracy was the darkness of the mind that helped bind the Lithuanian peasant to the land and to his master as surely as did poverty and religion. Every revolutionary, every patriot, every Lithuanian who admitted to being Lithuanian, understood that the very existence of himself as a Lithuanian depended on preserving his language.
The illiterate masses who had been invited in 1547 to "read me" - in fact could not do so for more than 400 years. Only in socialist times has illiteracy been wiped out.
Today, there are 6,000 libraries in the republic which, along with special libraries for the blind and handicapped, and farm libraries, present 90 million copies of books to some 1,300,000 readers in a country of a little more than 3 million inhabitants.
More than 90 per cent of all books published in Lithuania are published in the Lithuanian language. This means that more people than in all of Lithuania's history today read books in Lithuanian. About 17 million books are published every year.
Not until socialism came to Lithuania was it possible to speak of Lithuanian as a growing, living, and, develop ing language. And more people now know Lithuanian than ever before.
Was this an expression, of nationalism, as some maintain?
The truth is, there is no contradiction between socialism and national culture. On the contrary, socialism awakens the national identity of a people, often from centuries of slumber, from the darkness of oppression and ignorance, .restores its language, or even creates one where none existed before, returns the national traditions of the people to the people; develops a living new culture from the healthy roots of the old.
Lithuania today is more Lithuanian and less parochial and nationalist than it has ever been. A new generation has come into being that has known Lithuania only as a socialist nation with an all-embracing Lithuanian culture.
(From "Daily World", May 1978)
IZZAT KLYCHEV: ARTIST OF TURKMENIA
By Anton Refregier
Izzat Klychev is an artist of Turkmenia, a Central Asian Soviet republic that shares its borders with Afghanistan and Iran. In Turkmenia, one clearly sees the benefits the people have gained since the October Socialist Revolution. Its liberating forces unlocked the talents of people who, until recently, were restricted by the rules of the Moslem religion and by the oppression of imperialist czarism.
"When I was a small boy of six", Izzat told me, "I used to work in clay, making figures of animals and people. Later, I started to draw. At that time, it was still hard: the people - the religious people of our village - did not like me to make images. My father was a teacher in our village school, but he died when I was ten years old."
While he was still in school, the.Soviet Union was invaded by the nazis and Klychev spent the next five years at the front.
"I was decorated for fighting for our Motherland, and the end of the war found me in Berlin. Later I was accepted, without the usual examinations, at the Leningrad Academy of Arts where I studied for the next five years. The first year was hard - such a tremendous change in my life from war to peace. In the summertime when I returned home for the vacations, I painted our people. I studied our
national ornaments, our traditions. Our people are rich in the culture of our fathers, and this the artist must learn, must discover for himself. Culture enriches not only the people who created it but, if it is a great culture, it will enrich the world."
For the next five years, Klychev worked on collective farms; he traveled, painted portraits, taught. He was excited by the thought of painting the life of his people, and thus did the series "My Turk-menia". Of this, and of all of his work, he writes: "The theme of labour remains fundamental in my creative work as in that of many of my contemporaries. Cotton growers and shepherds, oil industry workers and builders of the Kara Kum Canal - these are the heroes of my future paintings."
Klychev's work is known not only in the Soviet Union. Exhibitions of his paintings have been sent by the Ministry of Culture and the Artists Union to Poland, the German Democratic Republic and elsewhere. He has traveled to many countries, including Cuba, where there is an increasing cultural exchange with the USSR.
We sat in Izzat's studio. A large portrait of Lenin, painted two years ago, occupied one wall; on another were his richly colored paintings of weavers, shepherds, still lifes of Turkmenian products.
I looked at the paintings around me. Some I remembered from color reproductions in Soviet magazines. I had been puzzled by the warm color tonality, the absence of greens and blues, the background of the figures often in a strange sandy color. Now, having seen Tur-kmenia, I understood the Klychev landscapes - the vast sand dunes, the Kara Kum desert.
"I love red color. I see it everywhere.- You can see that many of our women wear our national costume - the long tunic-like dress in shades of red. The rugs that our women weavers have made so famous are red. It seems to me that we are surrounded by this color and by the strong sun. To me red is strength. It is tied to our culture; it's the color of revolution. I love to use it in my work."
Klychev is not only the foremost artist of his republic, he is acknowledged as one of the leading artists of the Soviet Union. A soft-spoken man, gentle and considerate of others, he plays an important role in encouraging the new generation of Turkmenia. He is a member of the Supreme Soviet of Turkmenia and president of the Artists Union in Ashkabad. He is a secretary of the Artists Union of the USSR and in this capacity he spends one month each year in Moscow, taking his turn in administrative work, and in seeing to the needs of the artists of Turkmenia.
THE VOICE OF REASON
The foreign policy credo of the CPSU and the Soviet state is perfectly clear. That credo is not the arms race, but curbing it. Not confrontation, but the preservation and deepening of detente. Not shrill recriminations, but a peaceful, productive dialogue. Not con-
servation of the old and provoking of new conflict situations, but their settlement and prevention. Not bellicosity, but restraint. Not inertia at disarmament talks, but vigorous initiative and resourcefulness in dealing with blind allies in international life and barriers impeding the limitation of the arms race. Not alienation and discord between East and West, but rapprochement and cooperation to prevent war that would be disastrous for all. Not conversion of the Third World into the object of fierce rivalry between the two diametrically opposed systems, but ensuring its peaceful and independent development, genuine equality and a just international economic order.
The present situation in the world arena makes it imperative to intensify work for peace, to exert new, additional efforts in this direction.
The Soviet Union holds that the paramount task of the day is the checking and termination of the arms race. The danger of war contained in the arms race hangs over the whole world. And it must be combated by common effort. The nations of the world are interdependent, and this interdependence is most acutely felt in the face of the threat of a thermonuclear conflict. The nuclear genie, once let loose, will spare no one. In blind fury it will strike right and left until it has reduced everything living to ashes.
The Soviet Union issued a call from the rostrum of the 26th Congress of the CPSU to the United States, the European countries and all other states to join in concerted effort to remove the common threat. The object must be not to beat each other in the arms race but together to beat the arms race.
To this end the Soviet Union proposes a quantitative and, what is particularly important, a qualitative freeze on medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe including the US forward-based nuclear weapons in this region. It proposes "defreezing" the talks on the limitation and reduction of armaments, primarily strategic armaments.
The aim of the Soviet proposals is to preserve everything positive accomplished in the process of detente, to stabilize the present unstable situation, and create the conditions for transition to a new and even more fruitful stage in the development of relations among nations.
At present the policy foundations are being laid for the eighties, a decade which many politicians regard as the most dangerous and decisive for the future of mankind. Will detente be continued or will it give way to confrontation, to antagonism fraught with conflict - that is the crucial question.
TWINNED CITIES FOSTER UNION OF PEOPLES
The striving of peoples of the world for peace, their desire to know each other better, result in friendship between families, cities and countries.
At the end of 1942, when a decisive battle of World War II was under way on the banks of the Volga, the defenders of Stalingrad received a telegram from Coventry, a war-ravaged city in Britain,
which expressed admiration and gratitude for the courage and staunchness of the Soviet troops fighting at Stalingrad and'said that their example inspired every honest person to rise in arms against the common enemy. The telegram was signed by the then Mayor of Coventry.
Reply messages were sent to Coventry from Stalingrad, voicing Soviet solidarity with the British in the struggle against the hated enemy, who had subjected Coventry to barbarous air raids. Soon a committee for friendship between the two cities was set up in Cdv-entry.
British workers collected money for medicines to be sent to the defenders of the Volga fortress. In the bombshelters of Coventry a large table-cloth bearing the city's coat-of-arms was passed from person to person, and they embroidered their names on it, and sent it to the Stalingraders as a token of their admiration and solidarity.
After Coventry, a warm handshake came from the inhabitants of the city of Dijon (France), the cradle of the French Resistance. Souvenirs were exchanged between the two cities to mark the establishment of contacts. Dijon residents presented Stalingraders with the Great Sword - their coat-of-arms. These and other gifts can now be seen in the city's museum.
That was how friendship and cooperation between cities came into being. To promote thi.i movement a new international body - the United Towns' Organization - was set up in April, 1957. The last Sunday in April was declared the World Day of twinned cities. The emblem of the organization is a big key against the background of a blue globe crisscrossed by parallels and meridians. At present the organization unites more than 2,000 cities in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. More than 100 Soviet cities maintain contacts with 250 cities in other countries.
Cooperation born of the joint struggle against fascism for peace and democracy, contributes to the solution of many common problems facing cities in our time, among them - protection of the environment, organization of communal services, municipal transport, etc.
Twinned cities do not leave each other in trouble. Suffice it to recall the days when unprecedented floods brought disaster to some cities in Italy. On the very next day the residents of the Soviet cities of Kiev, Tbilisi, Kharkov, Krasnodar and Novorossiisk sent to Florence, Bologna, Palermo and Ferrara food, medicaments and other urgent necessities. Soviet "twins" immediately announced their readiness to dispatch experts in the restoration of art treasures to Florence, where many unique works of art were damaged as a result of the flood.
Days of twinned cities are becoming ever more popular.
During the 20 years since its inception the United Towns' Organization has carried out various measures for the strengthening of mutual understanding. The motto of the organization - "Unite cities in order to unite the peoples" - has rallied young and old
cities on our planet. Their cooperation has markedly grown in recent times, in the more favourable international climate. The big family of friendly cities in our day is a vivid testimony of the materializing process of detente.
A "NONLINEAR" PERSONALITY
Rem Khokhlov died in 1977 at the age of 51. It seems a tragic absurdity: he could have gone on working brilliantly for another two or three decades. Nor is there any consolation in the fact that in the last fifteen years of his life he had traversed a path which takes many others a lifetime. He was a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, rector of Moscow University, Lenin Prize winner, deputy of the USSR Supreme Soviet, a member of the Central Auditing Commission of the CPSU and vice-president of the International Association of Universities. But above all he was a researcher whose work does honour to worJd physical science.
And he was also a mild, kind, and at the same time, daring person, given to taking chances. Some of his colleagues were inclined to think that Rem all too often tempted fate.
He once made a parachute jump without any preliminary training whatsoever. On a dare he walked across and back along a shaky log stretched over a mountain torrent. He disarmed a hooligan who was brandishing a knife in a suburban electric train.
But that was only one facet of his character. In sharp confrontations, when "common sense" suggested he should hold his tongue for the sake of peace and security, Khokhlov, who was by nature reticent, never once hesitated to speak up.
His parents belonged to the first generation of the Soviet technical- intelligentsia. For them an urge to change the world was inseparable from human decency - personal, scientific, civic. "Be the kind of person you want your child to become." Rem absorbed this principle thoroughly and well.
When nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Rem was only 15 years old and had just completed the seventh form. He could have gone on studying. But he considered it his duty to replace plant workers who had gone to the front. He worked for three years as a motor-car mechanic. At night he read textbooks, battling against terrible fatigue. In 1944 he took external exams for the 8th-10th forms of secondary school and entered the Moscow Aviation Institute. A year later he transferred to the Physics Department of Moscow University.
Khokhlov published his maiden scientific effort in 1948, when he was in the fourth year at the university. The work was of a purely practical nature - dealing with radiophysics. His fellow-students who were then mad about atomic physics, were amazed at the choice of such a modest theme by a young man who was thought to have great promise. When Rem turned his attention to what is known
as nonlinear phenomena, many people regretfully said that a capable lad was wasting his talents.
They were wrong, but this did not become obvious until the advent of masers and lasers. In this new field Khokhlov immediately emerged as a leader and his works on nonlinear phenomena earned him world renown.
Nonlinear phenomena appealed to Khokhlov the scientist. Possibly, this has something to do with his nature: as a man he also defied "linear" schemes and analogies. His interests went far beyond experimental physics - his main field of research. An analyst, he sought universal relationships, for instance, between sciences which stood far apart, between the humanitarian and natural principles of life. When old friends dropped into his rector's office and saw heaps of books on philosophy, biology and linguistics, they were wont to ask: "Do you really understand all these books?"
He was rector of the oldest and largest educational establishment in the country and an active member of the Academy of Sciences.He was entrusted by its Presidium to develop a scheme of relationships between all education institutions and the Academy's science. This spectacular programme is far from completed. Khokhlov had ambitious plans. He believed that by the 21st century universities and institutes would have to extend their activities beyond the younger generation, beyond the framework of'training personnel, and become education centers for the whole people.
The well-planned routine of this scientist and administrator included visits to the theatre, above all, ballet performances, previews of impressionist art exhibitions, sport activities. When students did their morning exercises on the slopes of Lenin Hills, they could regularly see their rector jogging along in a gym suit. Khokhlov could run 20 kilometres like a good stayer. In winter he would bathe in an ice-hole. He was a first-rate car driver and went in for downhill skiing. He was a mountain climber and made four ascents of peaks over 7,000-metres high.
Even in his rectorate days, deep down in his heart he remained the same old Rem he had been in his student days. His coevals were envious of his relations with the students, whom he treated as his equal, overlooking the difference in age and position. The dominant quality of this scientist and administrator was that he had no fear of talented people around him. Perhaps he would not have been what he was without constant contact he had with such people. And then he was capable of quickly "helping people to achieve independr ence in science", as a former fellow-student observed.
The time will come when the gamma-laser will go into mass production. Then man will be able to transmute one chemical element into another on an industrial scale, gratefully remembering the Soviet scientist Rem Khokhlov, who fathered the "crazy" idea, opening the way for it from the field of semi-fantastic hypotheses and research to engineering development.
NEW TRADITIONS IN A NEW WORLD
Soviet reality has brought to life new traditions and customs, new national holidays. Such are the celebrations marking the anniversaries of the October revolution, First of May, Soviet Constitution Day, International Women's Day, Victory Day. Each of them is a red-letter day and has its own specific features and unique colouring.
In the USSR the First of May is celebrated not only as the international workers' solidarity day but has also become a national festival of Spring .and Labour. In the morning hours of May 1st demonstrations of working people are held throughout the country. Coloured flags, red banners and slogans form a bright multi-coloured pattern against the first spring verdure. Songs ring all day long in the streets and squares of towns and cities. In the evening public merry-making begins, culminating in a gun salute of fireworks.
The October holiday has its own features. This is a holiday of revolutionary traditions. On November 7 military parades are held in Red Square in Moscow and in the capitals of the Union Republics, followed by working people's demonstrations. Like the First of .May, the October holiday is celebrated in each family. People send greetings to each other with festive cards and telegrams. Relatives and friends gather for a holiday dinner. The press, radio and TV mark the feats of revolutionary heroes and the achievements of outstanding Soviet people. At enterprises, in clubs, theatres and concert halls meetings, evenings and holiday concerts are held.
In the Soviet Union International" Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 on a grand scale. The fluffy spring of the mimosa flower has become a symbol of the holiday: it can be observed on badges and holiday postcards. On this day all women feel as if it is their holiday! They receive warm congratulations, diplomas and valuable presents, flowers and souvenirs.
Holidays in honour of people of different professions are becoming more popular with each passing year. There are Days of metallurgists, fishermen, geologists, etc. On these days festive meetings are held for people in the corresponding profession throughout the country and the best specialists and collectives are congratulated and awarded. Gala concerts are held in theatres and factory Palaces of Culture and transmitted over TV and radio. Public merry-making goes on in the parks.
It has become a tradition to mark one's initiation into the ranks of workers, and in the village, to celebrate one's first day at the tractor wheel. In a festive atmosphere the young workers receive tools inscribed with their names and gifts, and young people's balls are held in their honour.
*For the instructions how to work at the texts and topics see pp. 6-7.