Collected quotations from communist thinkers
Brassey's Soviet and Communist Quotations, compiled and edited by Albert L. Weeks. Washington: Pergamon-Brassey's International Defense Publishers. 368 pp. $50. The exceptional value of ``Brassey's Soviet and Communist Quotations'' lies in its simplicity: 2,017 official statements and pronouncements that are the distilled essence of 60 years of Soviet policy.
They were harvested by Albert Weeks, a Sovietologist based at New York University, who has spent the better part of 40 years collecting the works of communist thinkers and Soviet political leaders from Marx to Gorbachev.
Dr. Weeks has finally digested them and, taking a cue from the hundreds of requests he receives annually for a verification of this or that ``quote,'' has produced this collection of statements and extracts from radio broadcasts, official Soviet publications, and the speeches, writings, and other public utterances of Soviet officials.
Pronouncements on everything from the ``Origin and Nature of the Bourgeoisie'' and dialectical materialism, to arms control and foreign policy, give a comprehensive insight into Soviet strategy since 1917.
``Lenin's policy of supporting the just anti-imperialist struggle of the people of Asia, Africa, and Latin America was and remains the cornerstone of Soviet foreign policy.'' That statement comes from ``USSR, Questions and Answers,'' a book published in Moscow in 1965. Soviet policy directives are often published in books and periodicals.
Considered today, this one offers a hindsight echo to the fact that the Soviets have placed what some observers call ``puppet governments'' in Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique (Africa), and Nicaragua (Central America) and have thrust forward from their base at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam (Asia) to gain a strategic foothold in the Pacific.
``The road to Paris and London lies via the towns of Afghanistan, the Punjab, and Bengal.''
Following this advice from Trotsky, the Red Army stormed Afghanistan in 1979. And Soviet diplomats have quietly built a solid military, economic, and cultural alliance with India.
Many of the statements in ``Quotations'' may surprise those American observers who entertain a vision of overriding goodwill between the superpowers.
``As long as capitalism and socialism exist, we cannot live in peace: In the end, one or the other will triumph - a funeral dirge will be sung over the Soviet Republic or over world capitalism.'' That was Lenin, expressing in 1920 a view that was echoed later.
Brezhnev, during the heady days of d'etente in the late 1970s, warned that ``the struggle for peace ... presumes the strengthening of the military might of the Soviet Union,'' that ``peaceful coexistence does not spell an end to the struggle between the two world social systems. The struggle will continue ... up to the complete and final victory of communism on a worldwide scale....''
Reading Weeks's selections, one learns to cross-check quotes in a given period for possible contradictions. For example, just before and after his 1985 interview with Time magazine, when he beseeched God's help to get United States-Soviet relations onto a ``normal track,'' Mikhail Gorbachev called the US ``the metropole of imperialism,'' ``the locomotive of militarism,'' and ``the leading edge of the war menace to mankind....''
As a handy reference for students of Soviet policy, or speech writers looking for the perfect quotation, this reference a necessary addition to the library.
R. Cort Kirkwood works for the Washington-based wire service American Press International.