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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 14, 1976

CONSULTATION WITH COMRADE O. B. RAKHMANIN, CANDIDATE OF THE CPSU CC AND FIRST DEPUTY HEAD OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF CC, TO PREPARE THE NINTH INTERKIT MEETING ON 9 JULY 1976 IN MOSCOW

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    This consultation on preparations for the 9th Internal China (Interkit) Meeting in Berlin. Notes the growing anti-Sovietism in China, as well as a possible rebirth of capitalism there.
    "Consultation with Comrade O. B. Rakhmanin, Candidate of the CPSU CC and First Deputy Head of the International Department of CC, to Prepare the Ninth Interkit Meeting on 9 July 1976 in Moscow ," July 14, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Foundation Archives of Parties and Mass Organisations of the GDR in the Federal Archives (SAPMO-BA), DY 30, IV B 2/20/126. Translated for CWIHP by Bernd Schaefer. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/113243
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Department of International Relations
Berlin, 14 July 1976

C o n s u l t a t i o n
with Comrade O. B. Rakhmanin, Candidate of the CPSU CC and First Deputy Head of the International Department of CC, to prepare the 9th Internal China Meeting on 9 July 1976 in Moscow

The consultation was arranged in order to share with the Soviet Comrades our opinion on their draft of theses for the 9th Internal China Meeting in Berlin and to present suggestions for further preparation of this meeting.

At the beginning of the talk, Comrade Rakhmanin laid out some thoughts on relations between Soviet Union and PR China and on the situation in China:

Currently the country is in a very complicated phase of its development. Objective and subjective processes are at display. From the information we have, we cannot expect positive changes for the near future.

Anti-Soviet activity of Chinese leaders is further increasing. Beijing spends enormous amounts on arms. 20 million youth have been settled in militarized villages along the Soviet-Chinese border.

Ever more spies are sent into the Soviet Union. Chinese radio stations broadcast special programs around the clock. Today these programs are niftier and address a particular segment of listeners, especially at the outskirts of the Soviet Union. Beijing's propagandists use publications from the Soviet press featuring domestic problems and information from paid informants.

The Chinese press publishes anti-Soviet articles amounting up to one third of daily editions. Recently two mass-circulation brochures came out titled The Soviet Union under the Rule of the New Tsars and How Capitalism was restored in the Soviet Union . They serve as a foundation of ideological training for the masses.

Comrade Rakhmanin referred to the enormous expenditures by the Soviet Union to maintain military security from provocations by the Chinese leaders. He compared the situation at the ideological front with the situation of our republic [GDR] vis--vis the FRG.


Currently the Chinese leaders are about to build a worldwide anti-Marxist ideological network. Fraternal parties must counter these activities accordingly. Here Comrade Rakhmanin referred to a recent decision by the CPSU CC Secretariat to increase anti-Maoist propaganda and, among other things, to call for a substantial rise in material and technological funding for this activity.

Concerning the situation in China, Comrade Rakhmanin referred to dialectics between a deepening crisis of Maoism on one, and maintaining and securing the Maoist dictatorship on the other hand. Events like on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in early April have not seen sequels.[1] Reports about conflicts in the provinces are not confirmed.

Although there is currently a jockeying for positions [in the Chinese leadership], a landslide will not occur. Mao Zedong's imprint is currently omnipresent. In July or August there will be a central meeting in China either a CC plenary session or a meeting of the NPC. A Party Congress is unlikely.

Regarding preparations for the 9th Internal China Meeting, special attention should be paid to draft operative material and an according exchange of opinions. Like at previous meetings theses ought to be adopted as well. As for a date, 13 September 1976 was proposed.

Fraternal parties will be asked to send their comments on the drafts two weeks before the meeting to CPSU and SED.

Then Comrade Mahlow laid out our general remarks about the draft by the Soviet comrades, as coordinated in advance with Comrade Hermann Axen [Head of International Relations Department of the SED CC]. He [Mahlow] made the following suggestions for revision of the theses:

1.to define the class character of the military-bureaucratic dictatorship;

2.to make clearer the effect of objective determinisms in China and the contradictions of the country's developments;

3.to examine again thoroughly the phrase about a potential real danger for a restoration of capitalism in China;

4.to assess more objectively the weight of the working class in China;

5.regarding proof for the dangers of Maoism which has erected a 2nd front against global socialism: clearer focus on the fact that the main danger for peace and socialism in the world still comes from imperialism;

6.portraying the developments in China both in their contradictions, and also in a more differentiated way;

7.work towards an unanimous position of fraternal countries on the issue of islands in the South China Sea.[2]

Before responding to these questions in detail, Comrade Rakhmanin expressed his thanks to Comrade Axen for the opinions voiced and the helpful suggestions.

There is no doubt [, Comrade Rakhmanin said] that the fraternal parties must provide a sound assessment of class character of the military-bureaucratic dictatorship. Yet maybe it is better anyway to talk about Maoist dictatorship in order not to dismiss, for instance, potential options to influence the army.

Concerning the issue of determinisms, Comrade Rakhmanin noted that they are obviously also at work in China, and we are talking about the existence of healthy forces. Yet unfortunately events since early April have yielded only spontaneously certain tendencies in this regard. Right now there not yet exists a critical situation for the Chinese leadership.

Commenting on the phrase a real danger for a restoration of capitalism , he referred to the anti-socialist process in China now continuously ongoing for almost 20 years. No regime can sit forever on two chairs. One cannot just take a picture of the current state; instead must creatively assess future potential developments in order to show to the [fraternal] Central Committees where China is heading.

Returning to this phrase, Rakhmanin stated it is better to talk about the danger of rebirth of the feudal-capitalist order (they don't use in Russian the same term for order than they do in the connotation social order ). Also, concerning the comparison [of the PRC] to the Guomindang order: This does no pertain to an identical class base but to the forms of rule in both regimes. Comrade Rakhmanin agreed with the thought of Comrade Axen that a unilateral expansion of China's economic relations with the West is dangerous. It could hamper China's social development and even lead to its regression.

Regarding how to assess the role of the working class Comrade Rakhmanin agreed to think about it again. An exact analysis must be conducted for the newly emerging part of the working class in context of the military-industrial complex.

Overall one has to concede a hardly unsuccessful policy by Mao Zedong to divide and differentiate (in social terms) the classes and strata in China!

By no means we must forget the danger of imperialism when we deal with the one generated by Maoism.

The special dangerousness of Maoism lies, however, in its siding with the imperialism of the United States, the FRG, and other states.

On the problem Maoism-Opportunism: Here Comrade Rakhmanin asserted that ideology and practice of the Chinese leaders is not a variant of opportunism. On the other hand each ultra-leftist grouping is gravitating towards Maoism. The latter serves as a catalyst for the most diverse opportunist streams.

As far as the island archipelagos in the South China Sea are concerned, Comrade Rakhmanin here referred to a decision by the Politburo of the CPSU CC. It states that support is warranted for the position held by the Vietnamese comrades concerning the affiliation of these islands. It was decided to omit the naval borders marked in past Soviet maps that define these archipelagos as Chinese territory. Now the internationally common English terms for these islands have to be used.

The CPSU is guided here by the changed political situation in its relationship with China, and by the development in Vietnam.

If the Chinese side might refer to previous Soviet statements about the islands' affiliation with China, the Soviet comrades will not view this as a problem for the Soviet Union. It is well known that the Chinese leaders explicitly declared they shift from their government position in the 1950s regarding the issue of the South Kurile Islands.[3] Meanwhile they have interpreted this question for many years from an anti-Soviet position. 

The Soviet comrades will continue to advocate in publications positions by the Vietnamese comrades about the affiliation of the archipelagos with Vietnam. This way the Soviet comrades support the Vietnamese position without having to come up with their own legally binding formulas.

In conclusion, Comrade Rakhmanin remarked the draft of theses will be revised by giving consideration to the suggestions by Comrade Axen, and the additional comments made by Comrade Mahlow. The draft will also be shared with leading Soviet social scientists to solicit their opinions. Then it will be presented to the CPSU leadership. For a final review with representatives of the SED CC, a delegation from the International Department of the CPSU CC will travel to the GDR as soon as possible.

[signed]
Bruno Mahlow


[1] Public protests using the mourning following the death of Zhou Enlai. 
[2] Spratly and Paracel Islands.
[3] Back then the Chinese supported the Soviet position of ownership in opposition to the Japanese view; in the 1970s the PRC completely reversed its standpoint on this issue. 

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