Politburo. Final version of the letter to leaders of the French Communist Party; for draft see above, 22 February, St 45/8 (23 pp). [R 15 March 1977, Pb 49-XV] Excerpts.
Item 15, Minutes No 49
To the Central Committee
of the French Communist Party
In October-December 1976 members of the PCF leadership took part in a rally held by anti-Soviet elements at the Mutualite hall and then made comments that sullied the measures taken by the CPSU to free Comrade Corvalan. The latest statements in a number of interviews, and in anti-Soviet broadcasts on French television, show that some of the PCF leadership have passed from criticism of individual aspects of socialist democracy in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries to attempts to raise doubts about whether the political system in the USSR and other socialist countries reflects the interests of the people. It is openly and publicly suggested that we either reconsider or, in essence, reject the entire system of Soviet democracy in order to give unlimited “freedoms” to all opponents of socialism […]
The appearance of an insignificant little group of counter-revolutionaries, who have detached themselves from the very foundations of our system and started struggling against that system and who as a rule are linked with imperialist circles, does not in any way represent a logical result of the Soviet Union’s internal development. In the past, as we know, there were groups of individuals and political parties in our country that openly opposed the Soviet system. They frequently moved from words to deeds, even attempting to kill V.I. Lenin and other leaders of the Communist Party and the Soviet government. Then these groups and parties drew support from the exploitative classes which had not yet been eliminated.
Today there are no such classes in our country and consequently there is no social base for anti-Soviet groups. However, there are individual protests of an anti-Soviet character. This is not surprising. The development of political awareness among the many millions of the popular masses, their upbringing in the spirit of socialist ideology and morality, the transcendence of private-property-owning ideology and spirit, and the elimination of survivals of capitalism in the minds of the people – all these ideological processes, as is well known, proceed far more slowly than the restructuring of society’s material foundations. Moreover, they are proceeding today
against a background of sustained, daily, anti-Soviet propaganda and the direct subversive actions of imperialist “centres” which, in recent times, have sharply intensified their level of hostile activity against the countries of socialism. The survivals of capitalism in the minds of certain people are systematically stirred and encouraged from without by imperialist propaganda centres.
Our class adversaries, in their striving to create the impression that there are many opponents of socialism in the USSR, resort to the most varied tricks. One of the most common is to declare as “dissidents” everyone who on a certain issue has a viewpoint differing from that generally accepted in our country, including writers and actors, for example, who have professional differences of opinion within their creative organisation. The total falsity of this tactic is understood.
[page nine […]
The close link between the activities of the “dissidents” and the development of the international class struggle can also be seen from the following. The first of the people who spoke out as active opponents of the Soviet system made their appearance in the mid-1960s, i.e. at a period when detente was beginning, and imperialism put forward the slogan that socialism “had mellowed”. The accusations they then made against the Soviet Union and other countries of socialism, which they continue to make today, are the same as were and are used by bourgeois propagandists. Their demands were also similar to Western demands concerning the “mellowing” of socialism. Numerous facts show that this is no coincidence and that in a great many cases the so-called champions of an improved socialism receive materials containing defamatory statements from abroad, from bourgeois intelligence agencies […].
Whenever any of the “dissidents” find themselves in the West, they quickly discard the false mask of “champions of the improvement of socialism” and turn out to be frankly reactionary, a monarchist (like Solzhenitsyn) or an admirer of Strauss and Thatcher (like Bukovsky),
and urge Western leaders to engage in a more active struggle against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Many fraternal parties have already taken note of this, including communists in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Greece, Finland and several other countries. Their newspapers write on the subject. It is strange that certain leaders of the PCF remain quiet about it. Moreover, they call on us to give such people “unlimited freedom to express their opinions” and to hold “discussions” with them!
From the CPSU Central Committee
18 March 1977
[pages nineteen to twenty three – excerpts from Central Committee minutes and texts, respectively, to Communist bloc leaders and leaders of West European Communist Parties]
1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been inserted
in a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.