RUSSIA: Praise for Loose Opinions

Keeping up with the Joneses, or the Ivanovs, is just as difficult in Soviet Russia as it is elsewhere; the difference is that in Russia your life may depend upon it. Before 1949, it was the height of intellectual fashion in the U.S.S.R. to praise an economic treatise written by one Nikolai A. Voznesensky. He won a Stalin Prize for it. Voznesensky was a favorite of Stalin's favorite Zhdanov, the smartest young economist on the Red horizon, Vice Premier at 42, and the Politburo's chief wartime planner.

Then several things happened to change the fashion. Zhdanov died. His old enemy...

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