Politburo. Various topics discussed: situation in Afghanistan, renaming the L.I. Brezhnev icebreaker, and letter from SVETLANA ALLILUYEVA about return to USSR (2 pp). [R 20 Mar 86, Pb] Excerpt
[page one of two]
GORBACHEV. There is one matter I have left until last. On my instructions it was included by Comrade Dolgikh. This is his note [reads aloud]. It concerns returning to the ice-breaker “L. Brezhnev” its former name, “Arctic”. A new ice-breaker can be called “L. Brezhnev”.
ZAIKOV. It already bears the nameplate “L. Brezhnev “.
ALIEV. We can launch it as “L. Brezhnev” but make no announcement.
RYZHKOV. It should be done without television and in one day.
GORBACHEV. Let us instruct Comrades Ligachev and Zaikov to think over the matter and put forward suggestions.
And there is one other item. [Reads letter from Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, out loud.] Of course, there is no rush to decide whether she may come. My first inclination – let her visit the USSR. But perhaps we should not be in a hurry and talk it over first.
CHEBRIKOV. Her first letters were fine, they showed gratitude. In this one, half of it is about problems she never mentioned before. She was taken to hospital this evening with a heart attack.
GORBACHEV. We must find out what her daughter thinks and hold a high-level meeting. My view is that we need to assess Stalin, Stalingrad, and so on. I’m from that kind of family myself. My uncle’s health was ruined. We were five children born to a mother from a very poor family. I received a medal for an essay “Stalin is our military glory, / the soaring inspiration of our youth!”[i] Perhaps it would therefore be expedient to entrust this meeting to Comrade Solomentsev?
GROMYKO. Or to Comrade Ligachev, perhaps?…
GORBACHEV. Let us instruct Comrade Ligachev to meet her.
[i] “Tempered in battle and labour / on the expanses of our wonderful Motherland / we wrote a joyful song / about our great Friend and Leader.” (1938).