By DOUGLAS HYDE
WITH the Premiership of the U.S.S.R. and the General Secretaryship of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in his hands, Georgi Malenkov will be in a strong position in any struggle for dominance which may lie ahead in Russia.
It was his hold and influence upon the Communist Party which gave him the Premiership. It is that which will be his strength in the future. For whoever has the party behind him in a Communist ruled country has in his hands the strongest of weapons.
It was this that made it possible for the relatively obscure Stalin to eclipse. then drive to his death, the far better known Trotsky when the last struggle for control was on.
It is this that has made the, until recently, equally obscure Malenkov able to step almost automatically into the place of greatest prominence.
Malenkov, if anything, owes more to the party than did even Stalin himself. Stalin's personality was formed in the struggles which led up to the revolution of 1917, as well as by the party itself.
The party alone made Malenkov. He is its product. If there is a new Soviet man, he is it. Its qualities are his, its ruthlessness, its sense of organisation, its iron disregard of human considerations, its narrow suspicion of everything which can be dubbed "bourgeois," its fear of the outside, non-Communist world.
Hearts of EteeI
At Lenin's death, Stalin declared: "We Communists are people of a special mould, who are made of a special stuff." The party has made it its task to produce such men. Men of steel like Stalin. With a cutting edge like knives; hearts as well as nerves like steel.
Because he was still a boy at the time of the revolution, it has not been possible for the party to weave any revolutionary legends around Malenkov.
This, and the fact of his rise to power despite all the purges and the relentless and unceasing "Bolshevik" criticism which is a normal feature of the party's life, is in itself evidence that he embodies all the features expected of a Communist "man of steel."
Unlike Stalin, Malenkov has, so far as one can gather, no religious background. He spent his early years with the Comsomols (Young Communist League), who from the start had the main responsibility for cornbating religion.
Provided that they were able to make their youth into militant atheists the Bolsheviks were not unduly perturbed at the old and the middle aged continuing to hold religious beliefs.
Thus the Comsomoi was and is the spearhead of the war against God. And Malenkov first came to prominence when he was made its national leader. He has, therefore, nothing to learn about the Marxist fight against religion.
Later, responsibility for political education in the Red Army was put into his hands. And the aim of his work was again Marxist indoctrination, an important aspect of which is the combating of "religious prejudices."
Stalin his model
As Stalin's personal secretary he modelled himself upon his master, using his techniques, copying his way of holding up his fellow Communists to public ridicule with cruel-tongued attacks to which they dared not reply. He even copied Stalin's style of dress and mannerisms.
And he is just as capable as Stalin of backing up his peace appeals with threats of war as, for example, when he said at the Communist Party congress last year:
"While unswervingly pursuing its policy of peaceful co-operation with all countries, the Soviet Union at the same time takes into account the threat of new aggression on the part of the warmongers, That is why it is strengthening its defence capacity and will continue to do so."
That is the sort of language the party understands and it will be upon his reputation for toughness that he will depend in any coming struggle for power.
The change over since Stalin's death has so far been smooth. Hut it may simply be that those concerned are smoothly taking up their positions for future battles.