Misplaced Sympathy for Soviet Communists

The opinion-page column "Witch Hunting in the Soviet Union," Aug. 30, shows astonishing sympathy for the poor old Soviet Communist Party. Condemning the democratic revolutionaries in Russia and other republics for "witch hunting" makes the author sound like an apologist for 74 years of Marxist totalitarianism.What exactly is wrong with Boris Yeltsin's temporarily shutting down Pravda after decades of scathing propaganda and ruthless oppression? What is wrong with a vigorous ferreting out of those coup sympathizers who tried their best to turn the Soviet Union back into a gulag? Three-quarters of a century of Marxist-Leninist domination can't be undone in a week. The Soviet Communist Party's history is every bit as horrifying as that of Germany's Nazis. Would the author also condemn West Germany for banning the Nazi party or the postwar suppression of Nazi newspapers? Would she prefer that the Gestapo be "reformed" instead of obliterated? Would she also call the Nuremberg trials a "witch hunt"? J. D. Deming, Washington

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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