THE KREMLIN: Discrimination in a Tomb

  • Share
  • Read Later

Moscow went all out last week to welcome Comrade Tito, the prodigal son, and for one very good reason. For them, at this moment in history, he was the world's most useful man. These days the Kremlin's Communists have one basic task on their minds: they hope, by pinning responsibility for Communist crimes of the past 20 years on Stalin, to exculpate themselves from a guilt which they unquestionably shared. They do not seem to care how Khrushchev's expose affects foreign Communist leaders who—living under no "reign of terror" in their own countries—had no excuse for their slavish subservience to Stalin's will (see below). Instead, the Kremlin turned to the one surviving European Communist leader with a certified anti-Stalin record: Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito. In the Kremlin's new reckoning, Tito was a "cleanskin" who could persuade neutralist and socialist governments, and waverers in NATO and SEATO, that the Soviet change of heart is genuine.

Champagne&Cakes. Elaboratelycourted in Moscow last week, Tito was exploiting his singular advantage with evident satisfaction. In the conference room at the Council of Ministers building, the customary huge portrait of Stalin had been removed in order that Tito should not be offended. Marching sternly through the Lenin-Stalin mausoleum in Red Square in his powder-blue marshal's uniform, Tito ignored the sarcophagus of Stalin, gave a passing glance to that of Lenin. His 5 ft. wreath was marked "To Vladimir Ilyich Lenin" from "Josip Broz Tito." At a workers' meeting at the Moskva Auto Works (formerly the Stalin Auto Works), he said that after an absence of ten years he was glad to meet some people who were not afraid to look him in the eye and speak up.

At luncheons and receptions in the most ornate halls of the Grand Kremlin Palace, surrounded by grinning, handshaking Russian bureaucrats and bemedaled officers of the Kremlin guard in gold-braided green uniforms. Tito contrived to look unimpressed. His handsome, dark-skinned wife Jovanka outshone the dowdy official Russian wives with her wardrobe of elegant evening gowns of white silk, black lace over bronze-red, her red stole, gold mesh bag and rubies, and her day suits of pink brocade and lavender silk. At the ballet Tito looked bored.

Walking out from his Moscow residence in a cream suit and white snap-brim hat, with his wife, Tito pointed out the house in Pushkinskaya Street where he lived in the 30's, paid a visit to the famed Lux (renamed Excelsior) Hotel, onetime headquarters of the Comintern, from which hundreds of foreign Communists were dragged in midnight raids during the great purges. Taking refuge from crowds of gaping Russians in an ice-cream parlor, Tito ordered champagne and cakes.

He was shown an atomic reactor which Premier Bulganin said was "similar to the one we are making for you." At Leningrad his train was mobbed as crowds broke police lines. Tito put on his man-in-the-street act, tucked children under the chin, and listened to extravagant compliments paid to him by Premier Bulganin who, just as eloquently a few years earlier, had referred to him as a "jackal."

  1. Previous Page
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3