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Selling the Rope...and More

Joseph Finder: Red Carpet; New Republic/Holt, Rinehart & Winston; New York

by Henry L. Mason III

One of the most persistent sources of confusion among educated Americans is the failure to realize that the Soviet Union's relations with the outside world are conducted on levels which do not correspond to those of democratic societies. On Good Morning, America, for example, David Hartman recently described Stanislav Menshikov, a functionary of the Communist Party's Central Committee, as a foreign policy "advisor" to the Soviet government. In reality, the Central Committee's apparat "advises" the Soviet government in precisely the same way that Edgar Bergen acted as adviser to Charlie McCarthy. A Communist dictator:


can ignore the [Politbureau] and fail to call plenums of the Central Committee and Congresses of the Party, and nothing will happen to him as long as he relies on the Central Committee's secretariat, but once he starts acting over the head of the secretariat he's done for; the secretariat directly controls the Party, the political police and the armed forces (A. Avtork­hanov, Tekhnologiya Vlasti [The Technology of Power](3rd ed., Frankfurt, 1976), p. 711).


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