Untitled report on a visit to the Communist Bloc
This document was made possible with support from Youmna and Tony Asseily
Friday, Oct 23th
I left Vienna at 11:00 AM, on Oct 23th, traveling with the Soviet delegation and others. We arrived at the station in Budapest at 7:00 PM. We were met at the station by a Hungarian delegation and we had dinner at the station and everything was fine. The Frenchman, Monmousseau, the female Head of the Soviet delegation and the delegate for the unions in Budapest spoke welcoming us. There was nice music and all delegations sang spirited songs at dinner.
Saturday, Oct 24th
I woke up early and everyone was already awake. There were Brothers from Tunisia, Algeria and Vietnam. The weather changed and it got colder than before. I can’t describe my feelings when Soviet Comrade announced that we are 10 minutes away from the Soviet borders. The wish that have always dreamt of is coming true. After 10 minutes, I stood looking out the train windows with things moving slower than before. My heart was beating fast. I looked around me and saw the same feeling in everyone else’s eyes. They were all standing and looking. This was the first Soviet soldier we see on Soviet land. He raised his hat to salute us and everyone responded with a hand salute. I was out until I heard the music tunes. I’m standing in front of what I have never imagined. At the first station, on the border and in bitter cold at 7:30. Young men and women, children and old folks are holding flowers to welcome the delegations. The train stopped and we descended. They warmly welcomed us with kisses. They were Soviets that we communicated with by gesturing, but their looks and ours showed the deep love and friendship that’s in our hearts. Before long, the train left the first Soviet station (Chub), at which time we had to switch trains to another that came from Moscow especially to transfer the delegation. In it, we started our life in the Soviet Union. The train is well-equipped with everything, like you’re in a house with all comforts available to you. At 7:00 o’clock, on the same night, we arrived at the Lovov Station. Our welcome was even warmer than before. One station worker told us that they lived happily and that although they lived away from us, that they always thought of us and of all workers of the world.
Sunday Oct 25th,
We arrived at the Kiev Station at 2:30 in the afternoon. There were a lot of workers welcoming us with flowers. Some of our brothers translated to us that they were asking where we were from. They would give a warm handshake when they found out where we’re from. The Head of the Kiev Workers Union spoke and said [illegible] for the workers conference. Then, the Head of the Argentine delegation spoke, then the Heads of the Korean and Vietnamese delegations. I remembered the story of “The Secret [illegible]” translated from Russian as I glanced at the faces and the forests of Kiev.
Monday, Oct 26th
This is a historic day. At 1:30, we arrived in Moscow. There was a large crowd of male and female workers, and Heads of unions at our reception. It was a warm, brotherly and very emotional welcome. We didn’t speak, but the looks in our eyes and in theirs expressed the happiness in [both] our hearts.
There was music, while the Head of the Central Unions Council delivered a speech to welcome the delegations. After that, the delegate for the Latin American delegations spoke, and then the delegate for Japan. Then, we were taken by car to the Moscow Grand Hotel. We admired Moscow’s grand avenues, accompanied by a Soviet comrade who spoke Arabic.
In the afternoon, after lunch and a rest, we went to see a Soviet movie at the office of the Central Unions.
Tuesday, Oct 27th,
At 9:00, we met after breakfast and at 10:00, we went to visit the metro that we’ve been reading about, accompanied by an important female scientist. This metro has been mentioned by our media, but to see it in person is great evidence of the great peaceful building going on in Moscow and in the Soviet Union. Every station had images of the revolutionary battles of the nation, and other art representing the traditions of the Soviet republics. Trains come every 30 seconds, and they special areas for mothers with children.
After visiting the metro, we went by car to other places and passed through the main avenues of Moscow. We saw the university on the Lenin Hill, which was magnificent. We drove around it and they promised us to come back for a visit at a later time.
We then passed through Gorky Avenue, which was grand, surrounded by old and new high-rises. We saw the building that was moved back a 100 meters in its entirety in order to widen the avenue. We couldn’t believe it and everyone was in awe at what the comrade was describing.
We then went to Red Square. We passed in front of the tombs of the two national leaders, Lenin and Stalin. We saw the Kremlin, driving around it. After that, we went on a tour of many street, whose names I can’t recall. We saw incomplete buildings, then we went to the hotel for lunch. In the evening, we went to the movies to see a movie about the revolution.
Wednesday, Oct 28th,
Today, in the morning, we went to a ruble printing factory, which is a big factory called,”Kaganovich.” It’s the first of its kind in the Soviet Union. Here, they make them in all sizes, from 30-150 cm.
This factory was founded in 1931 and it celebrated its twentieth anniversary the previous year. It production rates cover the demands of the whole Soviet Union, and all popular democracies. It complied with the state program and it is one of the top factories earning the “Red Banner” award the previous year from the Soviet ministry.
Attached to the factory, there is a technical branch where workers can complete their technical education. This branch currently has 250 workers studying there. There is also a section for post-graduate studies, to teach building engineering and mechanical equipment. This section has 200 workers enrolled in it. Lastly, there is a night school for young workers to study.
For Lunch, the factory has a lunch area, which is in all factories. There is also a restaurant.
There is also a clinic, for the workers and their families, and a club and dance area and recreation area big enough for 800 workers. Workers also practice sports as factories include soccer fields and a stadium for male and female workers. There is also a playground and a daycare center. Everyone gets two weeks to a month break every year. Everyone can attend the spa, where they pay 30% of the cost and the rest is paid by the factory and the union.
Around 10,000 workers make up the workforce at this factory. 3000 of them spent their vacation in the south the previous year. In the outskirts of Moscow, there is a Scouts camp, where the workers send their children in the summertime. 3000 children have spent their vacation at these locations this summer.
This used to be swampland in the past, but is now a factory and homes for the workers enough to house all employees. They are now constructing two or three five- or six-level homes for the workers.
There is special staff to build and improve the factory. Almost all workers at the factory are union members and are active in them.
2000 workers are union activists. They carry membership cards and pay between 1.5 – 7 rubles monthly according to their fees. The fee for specialist workers is 2000 -2500 rubles. The lowest fee is 650 rubles monthly.
Union membership is by choice and not compulsory. The best meal at the factory restaurant costs three rubles. House rent and utilities (heating and electricity)… etc. costs the worker 3 – 5% of their salaries.
All the workers in the factory are Stakhanovists as in 1950, they were all given this name.
The Head of the factory is Ivanovich, who had been working there for 20 years. He had finished his studies at the graduate school. He is a technical engineer who has received the Stalin Award.
We saw the big room where the Stakhanovist workers meet to discuss the matters. Here, they have concerts led by a band leader from Moscow. They hold parties for the young people at the union’s expense.
We saw the hospital that the workers and their families go to, which had all types of medical exams and 48 rooms for these exams. It had 80 doctors and 100 nurses.
In the evening, at 8:00, we went to the Grand Theatre, which is the biggest in Moscow and has 8000 seats. Stalin gave a spirited speech and he vowed to keep the party alive even after the death of Comrade Lenin. Cabinet members attend parties, meetings and conferences at this theatre. We attended a performance of “Raymonda,” a Russian ballet that was fantastic. This was our first encounter with Soviet art.
Thursday, Oct 29th,
We visited a textile factory called “Sherpeco,” which belonged to a rich French capitalist before the Revolution. They weave natural, synthetic and velveteen silk at this factory. It has doubled its capacity since 1940 and 50% more since 1950. Worker productivity has increased by 23% due to new machines.
Female workers make up 85%, out 4000 workers total. As expected, there was a culture hall, a hospital and daycare centers as in all factories. During our visit, we spoke to the female workers and viewed their workspaces.
In the afternoon, Comrade Monmousseau, Secretary of the French CJT, who is a prominent writer, invited us to go with them to receive the French delegation, accompanied by the Vietnamese, Tunisian and Algerian delegations. We had lunch together, where he gave a great speech. And although I’ve said this already, but it was a great opportunity that we got to meet an important personality like him. He really dazzled us with his speech at lunch. He visited the Soviet Union in 1922, and spoke to Comrade Lenin in at the Kremlin and he met Comrade Stalin. He said that there is progress every time he visits the Soviet Union and he told us about the difference between the past and the present. It’s worth mentioning that he told us that he saw the building in Gorky Square that was moved back a 100 meters before it was moved, and he saw it after. After that, the Head of the Central Union Council spoke and the Head of our delegation about the friendship with the French working class, and the ties between our workers with people of the Soviet Union.
That evening, at exactly 8:30, we left Moscow for Leningrad by train. Leningrad was the first Soviet capital where the Revolution broke out; previously called St. Petersburg.
Friday, Oct 30th,
We spent the night on the train and arrived in Leningrad at 10:30 the following morning on Friday. I will not forget our welcome in Leningrad. There was a large crowd at our reception. The temperature was four degrees below zero. The Head of the Workers Union in the city gave a welcome speech. All delegation members laid flowers on a large statue of Lenin in the station lobby. We were then taken by car to Hotel Astoria, which is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever seen.
On the same day and after a short break, we went to visit a confectionery factory in Leningrad. I was very happy to do that as I knew how it is for the female workers at such a factory since I’d done similar work myself.
The factory was called, “Mekoban,” which had been around since before the Revolution. The Head of the factory said that it’d been established hundreds of years before. Production levels before the Revolution were 10 -11 tons of sweets a day, and now they are 110 tons a day.
They used to make things manually before the Revolution, and now it’s all by machines. We saw this firsthand as the only thing that the worker does is place the boxes in packaging. The factory makes caramel and chocolate.
The number of workers at this factory is 2550 workers. Mostly female. Everyone without exception is a union member.
Median salary is 650 rubles with the lowest rate being 500 rubles. As for senior staff salary, it’s 1500 rubles.
75% of the workers are Stakhanovists. The factory was awarded the Red Banner from members of the cabinet.
I saw the machines kneading the caramel while the female workers watched. They later filled up the boxes as well use the machines. When I told them about our female workers’ situation; they were saddened and asked me to give them their regards and best wishes for success and guarantees for better conditions. They also sent them a box of sweets made at the factory.
In the afternoon, we went shopping. The Comrades bought coats and hats for everyone that was with us, since the weather was extremely cold, on top of everything they’d already done for the delegations to guarantee and make everyone comfortable.
In the evening, we went to the theatre to see a performance of the story of “Faust.”
Saturday, Oct 31st,
This was an unforgettably exciting day. We visited the place where Lenin laid out the plan for the Revolution with Stalin. From this place is where Lenin and Stalin led and oversaw the Socialist Revolution of October. It’s called “Simolny” and it’s now the headquarters for the Central Committee of Leningrad.
We visited the one or the two rooms where Lenin stayed from Nov 15th, 1917 to Mar 1918.
In the first room, we saw a copy of the letters written by Lenin to the people for the occasion of the Revolution.
We also saw a copy of the letter he sent to the Central Committee of the Party, where he says that the Revolution must go forward without delay, and that retreat will only mean death.
We saw an oil painting of the many stages of the Revolution, and a copy of the declaration Lenin made for workers’ rights, which was the first constitution on which the constitution of 1918 was based.
We went into his office. It’s in new two sections, one for writing and one for sleeping. There is simple desk and three seats. There was also a lantern and the quill he used to write.
In the other room, there are two simple bronze statues, one of him and one of [illegible]. In between, there is a small table with a small mirror [illegible], a present from a farmer as a token of love.
We stopped and looked for a long time in this room. We checked out the floors and the ceiling, its chairs and seats and desk. Everything was left as is like a museum that workers can admire, when they see where the greatest genius of all time lived.
Then we saw the hall where Comrade Lenin delivered his historic speech after the victorious revolution, in which he stressed the importance of peace and peaceful objectives.
They told us that this used to be the Czar’s palace and it’s now headquarters for the Central Committee.
In the afternoon, we visited a cigarette factory.
It’s the biggest factory in the Soviet Union. It produces close to one ton of cigarette packs. It lies on the longest street, which extends to 3.5 Km.
The cigarettes are wrapped in special paper. Every day, they bring in 1600 rolls of paper. Each roll is about six Km long.
The factory manager said that the paper they use in a week could go around the earth once.
3000 workers make up the workforce at this factory. The factory earned the Red Banner award three times from the Unions and the Cabinet. They are striving to get it for the fourth time.
The manager also said there is a resort especially for the workers of this factory, where they can spend their vacations in the suburbs of Moscow. They can also go to the southern Soviet Union.
Most of the workers are female as well as the CEO. It’s a big factory and very organized. We visited all its areas, including where the work area where automatic machines were doing all the work. The tobacco is prepared and chopped up, then wrapped in paper, loaded in packs and sealed. There is a special area for each process until the final packaging phases where the worker loads them into boxes on electrical machines. There are air purification systems for the protection of worker health. There is also equipment to get rid of the smoke smell that we didn’t even feel like we were in a tobacco factory.
We then visited the restaurant where the workers eat. They serve very nice meals at three rubles each. We saw the workers eating there.
We then visited the clinic, which is very big and has type of medical testing available to the workers and their families.
We saw the hall where the workers spend their breaks listening to music. There was a piano, a vinyl disc player and all kinds of music. Lastly, we saw the large room where the workers and Stakhanovists meet to talks about their experiences.
On the side of the factory, there is a playground and a daycare center. One of the delegation members from Algeria asked the factory manager about why there were 16 year-old there. He said that they were studying at vocational schools and would come to practice for three hours every day.
All the female workers of this factory belong to the unions. We met the Head of the union who spoke to us about guarantees that they get and explained to us how they join union work. Many of them are active in the union.
There is a night school in which 200 workers did their high school studies. In the library, there is 36 – 40 thousand books and the government is allocating money for improvements. The woman in charge of the factory newsletter asked her to write about their workers.
Sunday, Nov 1st,
Today at 9:00, we went with a comrade from Leningrad around the city historic sites by car. We saw the large Peace building, and Stalin Avenue that stretched for 10 km, lined up with the most magnificent worker buildings.
The comrade said that Leningrad is only 250 years-old and that it’s a champion city. We saw the earliest built structures, which was from the Czar period. This was said to be for the city’s defense, which wasn’t true since during the Revolution, not a single bullet was shot from it to defend the city. The Czar had turned it into a prison to house communist political prisoners during the revolution. Many fighters had spent a long time in it.
We saw the platform where Comrade Lenin gave his speech in 1917 calling the workers and the people to join the revolutionary struggle.
We saw many historical statues; one was of Peter the Great on a horse standing on its hind legs. The comrade said that they didn’t take it down because it was historic and there is only three in the world.
Leningrad is a beautiful city with great architecture. There are scores of high-rises for the workers.
After touring the city, we went to see the Winter Palace, which was Czar Peter the Great’s palace. It is now a museum with two million oil art pieces from the best Soviet and Italian artists. It also has the Czar’s clothing and his jewelry, and other pieces from the sixteenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that were in the Soviet Union.
The palace is an indescribable masterpiece with its adorned rooms, the statues, mosaic tables, porcelain dishes and vases, carved ceilings and golden doors. When you stand in front of the palace, you feel how the Czar and his gang lived while the Russian people were dying.
The palace used to be for the Czar and noblemen. Now, it’s open to the public. All the people come to visit the Czar’s palace.
That evening, we went to see a ballet of an Indian piece, which was very nice.
Monday, Nov 2nd,
This morning, we went to visit Leningrad’s top engineer who told us about the history of building in Leningrad and how they build these days.
He said they are interested in building residential homes and services. Under his management, they are laying out the construction plan, which is a government project and it’s the base of all building in the city.
He said it’s a new city that just celebrated its bi-centennial with the 250th anniversary. That it’s a cultural and industrial center. That it’s an honor for the arts fir the people. In the city skies flew the October 1st Revolution flag. And that it’s the champion city that survived the 900-day siege during the war.
Soviet cities are built based on social programs, unlike capitalist cities that are based on personal ownership. Here, there’s no personal ownership, the land belongs to the state. Construction is done scientifically similar to all of the Soviet Union.
More than five million square meters of residential homes were destroyed in the war. Not one home was left undestroyed.
But with government assistance and Stalin, the city was re-built fast and homes were restored in 1948, as well all the historic statues as the people really love representations of their heroes.
Rebuilding is completely mechanized. This reduces the number of workers and building material is all done in factories.
All homes have electricity, heating, telephone service and radio.
Around the residences, there are stores, schools, playgrounds and movie theatres. Residents don’t have to travel far to buy their needs as 70% of the land area is allocated for these services.
Stalin Avenue is the major thoroughfare in the city. It extends all the way from north to south. The workers can build homes for their families with the financial help and free land from the government.
That evening, we went to the shoe-makers’ club in Leningrad to attend a celebration party for the October Revolution. We got their before the party started. There was a section for the workers in the technology study program where there were new leather samples, and a conference room with library containing 1400 thousand leather-bound books.
The party room was big enough for 1500 people. The party started with a selection of master of ceremonies from among the workers, then a female comrade delivered a long political speech for the occasion. The Head of the Vietnamese delegation spoke next. Then, the female comrade spoke about the situation around the world, the future of the Soviet Union, the mistakes being committed around the world, and gave a call to struggling peoples.
A Stakhanovist worker who is the Head of the Unions Committee read the names of male and female workers to receive award for the occasion.
After that, there music, dancing, singing and poetry recitation of works by Pushkin about Leningrad.
Tuesday, Nov 3rd,
This morning, we went to visit a liquor factory that produces Vodka, wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages, founded in 1894.
Outside the factory, there is a garden that supports all types of trees needed for alcohol production. This factory received the Stalin Award.
There is also a conference room at this factory.
They are trying to lower vodka production levels, and improving the quality of wine and beer. The factory has a club, a recreation center, a playground and a daycare center. It produces 70 types of wine.
It employs 1000 workers. It uses modern technology and some machines were designed by a worker from the same factory who has received the Stalin Award.
We then got to sample the liquor from the factory with food as organized by the manager.
We went out to take pictures in the streets of Leningrad. In the evening, we went to a movie about the innocent black boy.
Wednesday, Nov 4th,
In the morning, we went to a musical instruments factory called, “Yotski.”
The manager said that before the Revolution, there were only a few people who can work these instruments and it used to take a month or more to complete.
This is the largest musical factory in not only in the Soviet Union, but in the entire world as it produces 600 thousand pieces of a variety of musical instruments.
Each worker produces two instruments a day, which was naturally impossible before the Revolution.
The government has made the decision that our factory will double production.
We’re finding it difficult to select the proper wood for manufacturing as workers travel to the forests and bring back many types of wood, of which 2% becomes unusable after it’s stored.
Musical instruments are cheap despite all this. The price is 36 to 86 Marks, which allows the worker to afford 7 instruments a month. We’re thinking of lowering the price and striving to improve quality.
The factory manager read to us a letter they received from the Ministry congratulating them for the anniversary of the Revolution and for receiving the award for the third time this year.
The factory used to produce 500 instruments daily, and now after it was fitted with modern machines, it produces 2000 instruments.
The instrument prices were dropped by 17%. They have a budget of 4,900,000 rubles.
The factory provided the state with 6 million rubles in profit.
The factory has a 48 thousand leather-bound books in its library.
After visiting the factory, the manager invited us to tea, and one of the Brothers thanked them in the name of the delegations. One of the workers played for us different pieces. The factory owner gave each of us a folk Russian musical instrument called “the Balalaika,” as a gift.
After the factory, we went to take photos in Leningrad’s streets. And in the afternoon, we went to a spa for new mothers that they come to prior to giving birth, and receive care for two to three months after giving birth.
When we were there, there were 100 mothers and 55 kids. Some had twins or triplets.
75% of the mothers were workers, 15% were other employee and 15% doctors, writers and artists. Stay at this spa costs 800 rubles sometimes paid by the union, or 30% paid by the mother.
The spa has at its disposal all medical specialties, with a special section for pediatrics, with its own nurses taking care of the children.
There is also three branches; one for mothers pre-delivery, one for after delivery and the third for the children.
The place was very organized in its cleanliness, the way it’s decorated and the health services it offered the mothers. We spoke to them to check on their health.
This place is a great representation of the attention motherhood receives from the state in the Soviet Union.
After that, we went to the Vanguards Palace in Leningrad. This is a great palace that we didn’t get to explore completely because of our short time there since this was out last day in Leningrad.
This palace was established in 1937 after a decision by the party and the state and hasn’t closed its doors since then. It has eight departments: the cultural, technical, educational, mathematics, travel and exploration, sciences, vanguard sciences and administration. The cultural and vanguard departments are the ones that organized parties and celebrations, the rest participate in various arts. Sixteen thousand children are part of the music program, which has more than seven hundred musical bands.
Palace children start at age seven to age eighteen. They practice music for two hours twice a week.
Children practice this art by choice, or based on what the parents and the school assign them to, or their own talents with the help of the school and the parents.
One million one thousand five hundred children from Leningrad participate in the celebrations.
Study at the palace is free at a cost to the state of 6.5 million rubles.
Workers, laborers and manufacturers are the ones whom built this palace and continue work in it. All drapery, walls and furniture was all built by them especially for the vanguards palace.
There are a hundred thousand leather-bound books for the children.
There is a room for astronomy, where we watched how the children learn about earth orbit, the moon and stars … etc.
There is a playroom for the children and their toys, and a chess room. Also, there is a room where the toys were gifted to the children of Leningrad from children around the world.
There is a room where children are directed to read material according to their ages.
There are rooms with picture books of Pushkin’s stories and poems, and another for Gorky’s stories.
There is a room for technical studies with 48 departments.
There is also a wood-working room with all types of woods and instructors to teach the children, and another room for metal work.
There was a display where they placed all the items that children make at the palace.
In the evening, the unions had organized a party for the delegations. There were a number of union leaders at the party. All heads of delegations, including ours gave a speech at the party. After the party, we music, folk dancing and singing. We stayed at the party until 11:00, then we went back to the hotel where we had a dinner organized by the comrades in Leningrad. The Head of the Leningrad Workers Union attended the party. A Stakhanovist worker gave a speech to welcome the worker delegations. Then, the Heads of the Chinese and Latin America’s delegations gave a speech. This gave the dinner an air of joy and friendship. Then, each delegation sang national songs. The party last till 3:00 and it was out last night in Leningrad. After that, we said out good-byes to the comrades and left Leningrad at 3:30.
Thursday, Nov 5th,
We arrived again in Moscow at 6:00 PM on Thursday. We met the Syrian delegation who got there in our absence. That same evening, we went to ballet performance at the Moscow opera house, which was nice.
Friday, Nov 6th,
This was the eve of the Great Socialist October Revolution. Everybody was celebrating, so we couldn’t go to the factories and we stayed in to prepare a speech for the radio. In the evening, we went to a concert for the occasion, organized especially for the foreign delegations. Moscow was lit up and the crowds filled the streets. It is the most important celebration for the peoples of the Soviet Union. Electric lights decorated all places, with photos of Lenin and Stalin and other Communist Party leaders. Banners calling for peace and Stalin’s and Lenin’s speeches hung everywhere.
The car we were in couldn’t go very fast due to all the people.
The party was very nice. The best artists in Moscow who had received the Stalin Award sang and played music.
The female Head of the artists union in all of the Soviet Union welcomed the delegations attending the October Revolution celebration.
Saturday, Nov 7th,
This was a historic day that I will never forget. I couldn’t believe that I would one day participate in the Red Square celebration of the Revolution that I’d always dreamt of.
We started for Red Square at 8:30.
I’ve never seen Moscow have better weather than on this day for in spite of the extreme cold, the sun filled the earth.
At Red Square, the Red Army was lined up as well as crowds and attendees waiting for the party to start. At exactly 10:00 o’clock, the show started. Mostilov saluted the army units and gave a short speech. After that, the parade started with the army, tanks, armored vehicles and jets went by while the crowds cheered. Leaders in the party and the government and Malinkov arrived at the podium welcomed by the cheering and clapping crowds.
Then came rows of people; workers, athletes, and students all carrying their products, their victories, flags and promises for the occasion.
These were unforgettable hours.
We left the square at 2:00 PM to go to a ballet about Soviet sailors in China before its liberation.
Sunday, Nov 8th,
We didn’t go anywhere all day as I was very tired, and because of some problems, I couldn’t participate in today’s program. In the evening, we were invited to a party organized by Shivirnik to honor the delegation for the anniversary of the Revolution. The party was at the unions’ house, where the tomb of Stalin had been laid. The party was a joyful, friendly party that I wasn’t able to attend due to being tired so I went to the hotel. At 12:00 AM, we left Moscow by plane heading to Tbilisi, capital of Georgia.
We arrived at Rostov Airport in the late evening and recalled in our memory what we’ve read about the city during the war. It was really cold. Monday morning, Nov 9th, we were in Tbilisi. At our reception was the Head of the Republic of Georgia Council of Unions and some Council members.
Monday, Nov 9th,
In the evening, after taking a break from the travel, we went to the Stalin Park on top of a mountain, to which we took an electric train. The track is five hundred and one meters. At the park, there is a large garden with a statue of Stalin. There are areas for the children as mothers come to the park on the weekends.
We saw the grave of Stalin’s mother near the park. In the evening, we saw a movie about Georgia and the construction in it.
Tuesday, Nov 10th,
Today, we went to a machinery factory in Tbilisi. The city used to be called, “Tiflis” before the Revolution. It is known as the city of strikes.
The factory was built in 1930 as part of the Stalin five-year plan. It was the first factory for machinery manufacturing in Georgia.
It manufactures equipment for metal cutting, etching and pipe-fitting.
1800 workers are employed at the factory among them a number of Stakhanovists. Near the factory, there are homes occupied by 70% of the workforce at the factory, and now they’re building a 55-unit home for the workers.
There is also a daycare center, a playground, a club and home for the vanguards attended by the workers’ children.
At the factory library, there are 10 thousand technical and vocational education books.
The average cost is 900 rubles.
The cheapest is 600 rubles.
Stakhanovists earn between 2000-2500 rubles.
Then we went to visit a yarn factory. This factory meets the demand of both Georgia and the Republic of Ukraine.
The factory was built in 1932. Most workers are female. It has a daycare center, a club, a clinic, a gym and homes for the workers.
2800 workers are employed at this factory.
Mariana, a very smart woman, spoke to us about the factory. We visited the playground and the pool that was under construction. We also visited the factory where machines did all the work and saw the speed at which the workers were working.
That evening, we went to the opera and saw piece about the struggle of the peace movement during the war.
Wednesday, Nov 11th,
We went to Gori, the birthplace of Josef Stalin. We visited the house he was born in, which is very simple and is now dedicated as museum that people visit to admire the birthplace of the greatest genius.
Stalin was born in 1879 in this home. He lived in it until 1913. His family didn’t own this home as it was a rental. It comprises of one room, three meters long and same width. His family later moved to another house in the city.
The house underwent repairs in 1935.
Most of the furniture was left as is. There was a simple wooden bed, a table, a chest, an old lantern, two small chairs, a small old mirror and samovar for making tea.
In 1937, they built a house on top of the old one to protect it from sun and rain. Then, a garden was built around it.
Stalin’s mother passed away in 1937.
There is next to the house a museum dedicated to Stalin’s revolutionary struggle until 1911.
In the nineteenth century, and in 1870, Stalin’s father came to Gori to find work. In 1874, he married Stalin’s mother. Stalin is the third child to his parents.
Stalin passed the entry exam to the seminary on September 1st, 1881.
In 1878, Stalin finished his education and the school recommended that he attend the Tiflis Spiritual Seminary. He started his revolutionary activity at this seminary at 15. In 1896, he was leading secret meetings. During his studies, he was writing poetry that the school magazine published. He also met some liberal personalities with whom he conducted his first revolutionary activities.
On March 29th, 1899, he was expelled from the seminary due to his revolutionary activities.
After that, he worked at the observatory as an accountant.
In 1901, the police charged the observatory to arrest him, luckily he wasn’t there that day. Thus, he was forced to work in secret and from then on, revolutionary activity became his work.
In 1898, the first revolutionary group was formed under his leadership in Caucasia.
This group conducted activity to form a party across Caucasia. Under Stalin’s leadership in 1901, a major demonstration was organized in which 2000 workers participated. The newspaper [illegible] described this demonstration as an historic event for the Russian people. A secret publication was issued in Baku under the title, “Struggle” under Stalin’s leadership. We saw the first issue of this publication at the museum.
In late 1901, he arrived in Batumi in order to continue the struggle. Here, he formed twelve socialist democratic groups, and led the campaign for labor strikes.
In 1902, there were labor strikes in Batumi, in which 6000 workers participated. This was a political demonstration. Thus, he put into practice the theory of tying political action with the struggle for economic demands.
In April 1902, Stalin was arrested for the first time in Batumi. We saw a photo of the cell in which he was held.
In 1903, he was exiled to Siberia for a period of three years. In 1904, he escaped from exile returning to Caucasia to resume leadership of the Democratic Socialist Committee.
In 1903, a secret press was built. We saw a small picture of the press below a residential home. However, in 1906, the location of this press was discovered by the police.
In 1905, Stalin led the armed resistance in Georgia.
Upon orders from the Party, he came to Baku to lead the Party committee. And in March 1908, he was arrested for the second time and exiled to the Fedorovski province. He escaped from exile in June 1909.
In March 1910, he was arrested for the third time and exiled again.
He was arrested seven times and exiled six times. He escaped five times.
One cannot describe his feelings while looking at these places. Everyone was in tears while they gazed at the simple room Stalin was born in.
After this visit, we went to a kolkhoz in Gori.
This kolkhoz was established in 1928 based on voluntary participation. There 700 female workers in this village.
The Kolkhoz is called Malinkov. The village where it’s located is called [illegible]. Five hundred of the seven hundred families in this village are members in the kolkhoz.
The government provided the kolkhoz with 1400 hectares.
The land is farmed in the following manner: 710 hectares for grapes, 11 hectares for peaches and other fruit, 30 hectares for apples, apricots and others, and the rest for wheat, corn and other.
They also plant cabbages, tomatoes and [illegible]. Members of the kolkhoz meet to select the high leadership, who is charge of administration.
Work standards are decided by the members of the kolkhoz. They have to work a minimum of one hundred and twenty days a year.
Every work unit has a special pay rate. Some work 800 to 900 work units a year.
If a mother has a child and no daycare at the kolkhoz, she is exempted from work with full salary payment.
There is a special fund at the kolkhoz for these women and for retirees. Every kolkhoz member is able to own one hectare with government approval. Every member has to have two or more cows.
The children study in compulsory school until the age of ten.
One hectare of land produced 800 Kg only. This year, it produced 1200 kg.
Farming is done by tractors.
There are also technicians at the kolkhoz who work on fighting plant insects.
There is also “the Russev Club” near the Kolkhoz, and a clinic. After we saw the residents’ homes, we had dinner at the winery. The wine is produced by the kolkhoz farmers.
That evening, we went back to Tbilisi and visited the circus.
Thursday, Nov 12th,
Today, we went to visit a textile factory in Georgia.
This factory was built during Stalin’s five-year plan. Work on it started in 1930. Recently, production has doubled by one and a half times due to the improvement of machinery.
80% of raw material comes from Georgia itself and the rest comes from across Caucasia. There is a night school, a club, a playground and a daycare center.
They also built a sports field.
Since the factory met its quota, they were able to save fifty million rubles that they’ve used to build playgrounds, and there’s a plan to build a swimming pool.
There are 28,000 workers at this factory.
This morning, we visited a girl school in Georgia. It’s the nineteenth girl school. This one is in the Lenin section and since the province has a lot of factories, therefore 80% of the students there are daughters of workers.
The school has 37 classes, 1,216 students and 11 grades.
Children’s ages range from 7 – 18 years-old.
The school has 62 teachers, among those, 45 have higher degrees and 10 are in higher studies but have not earned their degrees yet.
Seven have private high school degrees.
The school has the following departments:
Teaching the mother tongue; Georgian, Russian and foreign languages; like German and Latin, math, physics, chemistry, history, geography, industrial design, art design, natural sciences, physical education and singing.
There is an area for the parents, where they can help the school administration by holding monthly meetings. The head of the committee who is also a member of the teaching staff prepares reports about student behavior and grades. They also hold culture sessions for the students’ parents.
During their breaks, the students are required to eat.
Teachers have to study 18 hours a week in order to complete their higher degrees, and in elementary school, they have to study 24 hours a week.
Teachers are paid 700 rubles and up.
In the afternoon, we went to visit the Central Unions Council for the Republic of Georgia. The Head of the Council spoke to us about Georgian history. He said that the people of Georgia have a long history of struggle. They have long struggled for national independence and have suffered greatly during the foreign occupation. They have for 150 years tied their destiny with that of the Russian people. Georgia was united with Russia, which was an important event for our people with tremendous political and economic importance. However, the Czarist government has long oppressed the people of Georgia. They considered us a Russian colony. Our people were the best examples of the Russian people.
The Revolution has opened a new era for our people, although Georgia stayed under the Menshevik authority, which is supported by the imperialists, until 1921.
This evening, we had a special party for the delegations. It was a pleasant surprise that a Georgian teacher welcomed us in his own language, then he spoke in Arabic translating everything he said in his language. Delegation Heads also delivered speeches.
Then we went to dinner, which had an air of brotherhood and comradeship about it.
Friday, Nov 13th,
Today, we left Georgia and returned to the dear city of Moscow. We got there in the evening. We didn’t do anything because we got there late. It was different since everyone went out to visit areas in the Soviet Union and only a few stayed behind.
Saturday, Nov 14th,
Today, we visited the big university, the Moscow University, which was lucky for us since they don’t open their doors to visitors every day. This university cannot be described in a few words. You need to write a whole book about it. Everything that’s been written and everything I read about the great architecture of this university cannot come close to what saw inside it.
We saw student quarters, which we were told the students pay 5 rubles a month for including heating and electricity. Students receive a monthly allowance while they study, which is something that all Soviet schools provide.
PHD candidates receive 780 rubles monthly.
Students study 6 hours a day between academic and applied studies. Classes last for 50 minutes.
Science major candidates receive 100 rubles, in addition to two allowances for buying books that they’re interested in.
At the university, students from all popular democracies are studying.
We took the fast elevator to the top level of the university building.
Sunday, Nov 15th,
This was a memorable day in our lives. The comrades told us that it’s possible to visit the tombs of Lenin and Stalin, which is the first time they’re being opened since Stalin’s death. We went in the early morning to visit the Kremlin.
At the Kremlin square, there is a large bell built in 1733. It weighs 200 tons. We saw a cannon called, “Caesar’s Cannon,” which weighs 40 tons. Each cannonball weighs 2 tons.
We saw the Uspensky Cathedral that was built in 1479. The drawings inside it dated back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
As for the relics in it, they dated back to the eleventh and fifteenth centuries. It is the largest cathedral at the Kremlin, in which all Russian Czars were married.
The Grand Palace of the Kremlin was built in 1849 and it was a temporary residence for the Czars.
We saw the grand hall of the Kremlin, in which the 1945 meeting was held with all the participants right after the victory in the war.
The High Soviet Council holds a meeting. In it is held the unions’ conference.
In this hall, the historic nineteenth conference of the Communist Party was held. On this podium, Comrade Stalin gave his speech, as well as Lenin and from here, they laid out the five-year plan. After the Kremlin, we went to visit the tomb. Everybody was scrambling all over the place at this visit. However, the comrades led us in since we were first in the lines. I cannot describe this ominous moment as we pass by the two tombs. Everybody had a tear on their cheeks. Lenin’s and Stalin’s faces haven’t changed. They look like they were sleeping naturally.
Everybody was walking slowly staring as intently as they could at these dear faces.
Monday, Nov 16th,
Today, we visited a cigarette factory in Moscow. It’s called, “Dokip.” It was built in 1917 and it belonged to a rich owner called, “Becket.” From 1914 – 1915, they had 600 workers working there at a production rate of 8 million cigarettes daily.
These days, the workforce is up to 2000 workers and production is up to 54 million cigarettes.
In a year and 16 months [illegible] good production.
The factory earned Central Unions Flag Award due to workers role in the national war. The workers got the award for their actions.
Besides the work area, there is also a clinic, a restaurant, a playground, an area for the vanguards, a club, a spa and areas for the children and the workers.
Salaries range between 600 – 1200 rubles.
Specialist salaries are between 700 – 2000 Rubles.
Profit margins are fifteen million rubles, 700 of which is dedicated to administration fund to cover the workers’ social needs.
After this, we went to a bread factory called, “Khrushchev Automatic Factory.” The factory was established in 1932 and all its machines are Soviet-made. Everything is done by machines.
It produces 250 tons of wheat bread. It is operated by natural gas.
Most of the workers are female. They make up 80% of the workforce. Most of the engineers, supervisors, and team leaders are female.
There’s a playground for the workers kids and camp for the vanguards. The playground is big enough for 150 children.
Since the work involves food, the workers undergo an inspection before work. They are required to shower before and after they enter the factory. They also put on special clothing for free.
Next to the factory, there is an area for hair and nails. They are required to get a manicure without polish.
There is a research lab to study ways of improving production.
Our factory supplies 350 bakeries. Transport is available. The factory produces 12 types of bread.
250 tons are produced by 200 workers, and 200 workers transport the bread at a salary of 700 – 1200 rubles.
While visiting the factory, we saw the modern machines the workers were working on, and the clean conditions in it. The building is five-story high. Yeast is stored on the top floor. At the bottom floor, we had bread.
Tuesday, Nov 17th,
Today, we didn’t go anywhere. We stayed at the hotel. We wrote speeches broadcast on the radio.
Wednesday, Nov 18th,
Today, we went to a sovkhoz in the Moscow suburbs.
It manages the economy of Milk and cattle. The main focus is milk production and rearing small calves until maturity.
Each cow produces yearly an average of 5529 buckets. They are fed bran, bits of food, some dried; some soaked in water and potatoes, as well as corn.
They feed the cow 80 tons a day.
The sovkhoz also plants gardens that yields profit, and plant a vegetable garden some in the sun and some indoors.
Besides every project there are programs laid out by the state. When the project exceeds the designated program, profit margins reach 34% provided to the state and the remaining 70% supports the local economy at the kolkhoz in order to make improvements. Awards are given to good workers.
Female workers who tend to the cows receive 650 rubles. Some specialist workers receive 800 – 700 rubles.
In the afternoon, we didn’t go anywhere.
Thursday, Nov 19th,
Today, we went shopping and stayed at the market till 4:00 PM. We witnessed firsthand the buying revolution by the people that we didn’t previously imagine.
We couldn’t even see all the goods on display because of all the crowds.
That evening, which was our last night in Moscow, we went to the Grand Opera to see a performance of “Aida.” It was magnificent.
When we got back, we were invited to a small dinner party. Comrade Victor and other comrades gave speeches. This was a small party where we spoke honestly about all that we saw in the Soviet Union.
All delegation members received a Soviet watch as a present.
Friday, Nov 20th,
We woke up at 6:00 AM to get to the airport and say good-bye to Moscow. At 8:00, we boarded the plane out of Moscow to Bulgaria.
We arrived at the Kiev station at 1:00 PM. There was a female comrade at our reception. After we rested for a little while, we continued on to Odessa arriving there at 4:00 PM. There was again a female comrade at our reception. We got to Bucharest at 5:00 PM.
We were surprised to see the workers whom we met during the festival. It was a pleasant surprise as they warmly welcomed us and took us to the restaurant.
Lucky for us this was the case since we had to spend the night in Bucharest because we didn’t have a visa to enter Romania.
We spent a nice evening with these nice comrades.
Saturday, Nov 21st,
Today, we went out to tour Bucharest. We were really happy to revisit the capital of youth for the second time. We remembered the day of the festival.
That afternoon, at 2:00, we took the plane to Sofia, capital of Bulgaria.
We got there at 4:00. The comrades were there to greet us at the airport with flowers.
We took a short break, then took a car to the hotel.
Memoir of Our Visit to Bulgaria
Sunday, Nov 22nd
Today, we went to visit the Revolutionary Fair of Bulgaria.
It is a great fair. It goes through the history of the Bulgarian people from the days of the Turkish and the Fascist occupations until the victory.
There were photos of the battles, and photos of the popular Bulgarian heroes and displays of the areas were the battles took place, where there were lot of casualties.
We saw the cells where they held the fighters.
We witnessed the new economy in Bulgaria after [illegible].
In the afternoon, we went to visit the vanguards palace of Sofia.
It’s a beautiful palace in the suburbs of Sofia.
The Head of the palace explained to us how things work for the children. There was nothing new. Things are done as they are in other popular democracies.
Monday, Nov 23rd,
Today, we went outside the city a distance of about 20 km, where there is a school for the union cadres, as well as a home for the workers.
We met with the professor who teaches there.
He gave an idea how they teach their lessons. He said that some workers were there studying while they continue to work and some were studying after having left their jobs. More than 100 thousand workers go through these classes at the union school. Bulgaria has three similar schools where these study all the time.
The school we visited was established after the liberation. Some of the best comrades from the Central Unions Council and the regional unions attend it. At present, there are one thousand comrades studying there. They are studying the following topics:
Political economics – dialectical materialism, history of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, history of the Communist Party in Bulgaria, history of world and Bulgarian union movements, and the duties of unions regarding organizing the masses of workers.
Students take 150 classes yearly. Each class lasts three to four hours. Every week, they take four or five classes.
How they prepare for their classes: They list the main points, and after they discuss them, they provide sources to support these points in order to explore them further.
Comrades are asked to read 50 – 60 pages about the topic.
Topics are not read in full in class. They only read the main points.
Comrades like to read the lesson more than once. They try to make the class interesting. They’re even able to apply practically what they read theoretically.
After they talk about the lesson, each comrade is asked to explain the material on their own to see if they’d understood the lesson and the main points.
They divide themselves into groups of 16, and each group holds a discussion of the lesson, followed by the instructor proposing questions about the main points. If a point is still ambiguous, it can be explained, this way, the instructor can assess how each comrade understood the lesson.
After our discussion, we visited the house and saw where they studied.
We had lunch at the workers’ restaurant.
Then, we went to a retirement home for older unionists, whom have struggled and are now unable to work because of health or disability. The state provides these homes for them guaranteeing them all means of complete comfort.
These unionists told us about their life stories, which was full of amazing stories of heroism that they’d achieved.
Ivan Rincov said that he was just a child when he joined the party in 1930. He was a member of the [illegible]. He later became a group leader where he was a party leader for his area from 1930 to 1941. That year, the Germans took over Bulgaria and he was arrested when he was betrayed by one of the traitors. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and tortured.
Following the torture, he remained in prison from 1941 till September, 1943.
And despite his bad health, he worked as party secretary for his region until 1946. That same year, he became paralyzed because of exhaustion, his wounds and the torture that he underwent, including a broken skull. His remained paralyzed until 1950. In 1951, with state help, he underwent an operation that reversed his paralysis and he was able to move.
An older woman spoke to us saying that she was the first teachers in Bulgaria in 1898, and that she continued to teach until 1920, at which point she left teaching since almost all teachers were being pursued because they were liberals. She’d been a member in the party since 1911 as a member in a women’s regional council. When her husband passed on in 1939, during the Fascist assault, she dedicated her life to political action. In 1941, she was imprisoned for one year. In 1944, she returned to her country and continued the party struggle.
They were all happy with our visit. We were greatly emotional to see them.
Tuesday, Nov 24th,
In the early morning, we visited the house where Dimitrov lived. After that, we visited a kindergarten big enough for 150 children. Since the area is for workers, the children are all their children.
It was in two sections. One for all day children and one for those who come every other week. Each section had its own staff of teachers.
When the kids arrive in the morning at 8:30, they undergo a medical exam by a doctor. They exercise in the morning, then they go to the different playrooms or they take them for a little while, then they go to lunch. After lunch, they take a two-hour nap. Older kids nap for an hour and a half. They’re given a snack after naptime.
In the afternoon, we went to a tractor station in the suburbs of Sofia.
Wednesday, Nov 25th,
Today, we went to the distant towns away from Sofia where there are spas for the workers.
We stopped on the way at one of the villages for lunch. We also stopped at a spa and took pictures with the trees and snow. The scenery was beautiful like I’ve never seen. We arrived in the town of Velingrad in the evening. We were met by the workers gathered at the spa to meet us. One of them gave a speech, to which the Head of our delegation responded. After that, we went to dinner.
Thursday, Nov 26th,
We woke up in the morning to gorgeous weather. The home we were staying at had a great location.
We didn’t do anything. We stayed home listening to Arabic radio and enjoying the sun for the first time.
Friday, Nov 27th,
Today, we went to visit a treatment center for lung diseases. We spoke to the Head of the center, who told us about the successes they’re achieving in fighting these diseases.
We didn’t go anywhere in the afternoon and in the evening, we had dinner with the Stakhanovists who were there at the spa. It was a nice party. One of the workers gave a speech as well as one of our delegation members.
The next day, we left Velingrad.
Saturday, Nov 28th,
Today, we left Velingrad and headed on our way to Plovdiv, which was the former capital of Bulgaria.
We got there at 1:00 PM. We went to a farm called, “The George Dimitrov Farm.” The total area of the farm is 3000 hectares. 160 families and 3050 people live on this farm. There were 7 tractors, two of which belonged to the farm, 2 harvest machines, 2 seeders, 3 [illegible], 220 horses, 200 bulls and 200 milk cows. Each cow produces 4500 liters of milk a year. There are also 300 sheep, 300 stags and 163 sows.
Each hectare produces 2500 – 4500 kg of wheat, 3500 – 4500 kg barley, and 6000 – 8000 kg rice.
It produces 10 to 11 thousand kg of berries, 15 – 20 tons of grapes, 30 – 50 thousand kg apples, 250 tons tomatoes and 2000 – 2500 kg pistachio.
This farm supplies all of Bulgaria with tomatoes.
There is a fish growing pond that produces between 7 – 8 tons of fish. The area of the pond is 8 hectares. One types of fish is used as fertilizer.
The farm is rich in irrigation water that they use motors to extract. The farm has 173 water pumps. Lighting is electric, as well as all the motors.
In the farm, there is a daycare center, a clinic, a club, a library, a theatre … etc.
In four years, the farmers had built more than 350 new homes. Each home has speakers for radio, but radios haven’t been made available in every home.
Farmers have property as each farmer has 3 hectares. Each family can raise a pig, five sheep, honeybee farms and birds… etc.
Job units are measured by the workdays. Payment for each workday is 22 kg of wheat, 50 g oil, 30 g sugar, 10 g cheese, 300 g rice, 10 g fish, 200 g grapes, 100 g apples and 300 g potatoes. Milk is provided for free to the elders.
Bulgaria’s liberation from the Turks was in 1878. During that time, feudal land was distributed to the farmers.
Sunday, Nov 29th,
Today, we went to a yarn factory in Plovdiv.
The machines we saw were the most modern machines we’ve seen until then. They were German-made.
We visited all areas of the factory. We saw the new buildings being constructed for the workers. We saw the restaurant and the sport areas… etc.
We then went to the highest location looking over the city to take pictures.
After lunch, we took the car back to Sofia.
On the way, we visited a mental illness treatment center.
Monday, Nov 30th,
This morning, we went shopping in Sofia, and in the afternoon, we went to visit the great damn being constructed to general electricity for all of Sofia.
In the evening, we went to the opera.
Tuesday, Dec 1st,
Today, we went to a meeting with the president of “Packages,” the workers’ newspaper. The reporters asked us the condition of workers in our country and about how we felt about our visit to Bulgaria.
We didn’t do anything in the afternoon and in the evening, we went to the opera.
Wednesday, Dec 2nd,
Today, we went to visit the Central Union Council secretary. We had given them some questions, to which she responded at the interview.
The first question was about the ways they follow to bring the farmers to the coops. She said that the ways followed in agriculture prior to the liberation were primitive. This caused agriculture not to advance, and farmers not to prosper.
The initiative to create the coops was from the farmers themselves. The way they did it is by introducing new technology and work methodology to the coops to enable the farmers to feel the difference between individual effort and working in a cooperative.
Bulgaria has 2747 coops, 52 – 53% of the farming land is part of the coops.
60% of total land in Bulgaria has been operating the coop system.
4,200,000 hectares are being invested in in Bulgaria.
A large amount of what the people need comes from the coops.
There is a fertilizer factory.
Agricultural production has gone up by 50 – 60%, 100% due to individual property ownership.
During harvest season, there are kindergartens and daycare centers for the children to assist mothers in taking care of their kids.
A decision was made to provide loans to the coops to speed up completing construction, supplying electricity and [illegible].
The government was providing loans after the liberation in the amount of 450 million lev, while continuing to reduce taxes.
Interest on these loans is between 1 – 3%.
Second question was about the duties of the union towards the workers, which are to assist workers in executing state programs, improving the workers educational levels and the overall improvement of their conditions.
Also, organizing meeting for workers to exchange knowledge and experience.
Any useful recommendations made at these meetings by the workers the unions will take into consideration and later apply in factories.
Providing a library in every factory. Organizing meeting in which literary and technical books are studied and discussed.
Unions are in charge of providing job insurances.
In 1904, under party leadership, the first liberal unions’ conference was held. There were two centers for the workers, one led by the Socialist Party and the other by the Right-wing Party.
Right-wing unions used to focus on employees only, as for Socialist Party they covered all worker categories.
After 1944, all parties joined forces.
Before the war, there was an organization for Fascist workers and another for independents. The latter is still around.
George Dimitrov was the Head of the independent inions for a long time.
The Communist Party existed prior to the unions and it led and directed the unionist movement.
Unions are formed according to particular projects, factories or production.
Members of the Central Unions Council are elected at a national conference held every four years. The council includes all unions, and every region has its own regional council. Every regional council has a member in the Central Council.
After speaking with the secretary, we went to lunch and later, we went shopping. This was our last day. In the evening, at dinnertime, the Heads of vocational unions came to say good-bye. The party went on till midnight.
Thursday, Dec 3rd,
Today, we head to the Sofia Airport early.
Here I am at the end of my memoir. We spent five days at the airport, unable to depart due to unusual fog conditions not seen in Bulgaria for over ten years.
Today is Monday, Dec 7th. We’re still here in Sofia. The hope is to be able to leave on Wednesday to go back to Lebanon.
Our hopes and kisses
Worn out by the struggle
Youth is bending hardship
Mobilizing to build life
With hearts that love peace
Are singing the song of the heart
And living with cheer
[illegible] peace the youth
Hatred is gone
I will gift the people
War is gone
Like black – like black
Never coming back – won’t come back
All they desire
Never coming back - won’t come back
Our spirits are aching
Our heritage is still
We are masters of the struggle
We are the Youth
For the call for life
Owned by people of the struggle
Our voices are rising
We bend hardship and [illegible] the days
[illegible] are still
O’ great martyr
You are on this land the light
Be the youth, bend
Memories in our imagination
O’ [illegible] unyielding struggle
For all struggling people
Hardship and be cheerful
[address in Russian and French]
Soviet guide – Ludmilla – Buber, Miskia and Riya.
Extensive account of Cheab's visit to Budapest, Kiev, Moscow, Leningrad, Georgia, Bucharest, Sofia, and Plovdiv.
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