Party strong enough to survive crisis
By DOUGLAS HYDE
WILL the death of Stalin make probable the collapse of the Communist regime in Russia? Over and over again I have been asked that question in recent years. It has come in most cases from people who hoped that this would be so.
Behind the question, I have always thought, lies a good deal of wishful thinking. It is very human to hope that the death of a tyrant should mean the end of the tyranny. But the U.S.S.R. under Stalin's leadership has not been that sort of tyranny.
For the renegade seminarian of the Orthodox Church who became the leader of world Communism recognised how wise had been his predecessor in power. Lenin, when he based his dictatorship upon that of the Communist Party—acting in the name of the proletariat.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union is in itself a strong organisation. It has shown itself capable of surviving the most terrific stresses and strains. It will not be easily broken from within or without.
Even when, to the non-Communist world, it has seemed to be irrevocably weakened by the most ruthless purges of leaders, national, district and local, it has not only continued to exist hut has finally emerged stronger than ever.
And, more directly relevant, the Party and the infant Soviet regime, in which, two or three years before. five million men were engaged in repelling armed intervention, survived not only the shock of Lenin's death but the long, bitter stniggle for the succession between Stalin and Trotsky.
Lenin died in January, 1924. It was not till November, 1927, that Trotsky was expelled from the Party, and 14 years after Lenin's death Old Bolsheviks were still being shot as alleged Trotskyites.
To non-Communists it was a persona' struggle between rival contenders for power. To Communists it was an ideological one fought on basic Marxist-Leninist principles. To the Party members, every move within the Party is represented as flowing straight from the application of Marxist teaching.
We may assume. therefore, that any new struggle between rivals for the leadership will not be portrayed to the people of Russia as such. Nor will the Communists throughout the world see it that way, either.
It will be freight around the question of who is the true interpreter of Mandst-Leninist-Stalinism. To back the wrong man will be to "deviate" from the true doctrine. And the punishment for "deviation" is death.