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From Bucharest to Moscow
February 1960: Mikoyan on the ChineaeSoviet differences. Exacerbation of the situation between Moscow and Beijing. Kosygin paya a “visit” to Mehmet Shehu in Moscow. The Bucharest plot. Hysni Kapo does not bat an eyelid at Khrushchev’s pressure. The Soviets set their secret agents in motion and establish the blockade to starve us. The struggle in the preparatory commission for the Moscow Meeting. Our delegation in Moscow. Icy atmosphere. The Soviet Gargantuas. Pressure, flattery, provocations again. The Kremlin marshals. A brief meeting with Andropov. Khrushchev’s tactic: “There should be no polemics.” The mercenaries react against our speech. The last talks with the Khrushchevite renegades.
All the representatives of the communist and workers’ parties, who were at the Congress of the Rumanian Workers’ Party, know the stand of our Party in connection with the diabolical plot which the Khrushchevites had hatched up there. I shall not go into details here because Volume 19 of my Works tells about the struggle of our Party, which opened fire on the Khrushchevites and fought with revolutionary Marxist-Leninist courage.
Judging from the aims which the Khrushchevites sought to achieve, politically, ideologically and organizationally, the Bucharest Meeting was a Trotskyite, anti-Marxist, revisionist putsch. From the form of its organization, too, this meeting was a plot from start to finish.
The revisionist renegades needed another meeting of international communism to gain approval for their old plan for the final legitimization of modern revisionism, which was defeated at the Moscow Meeting in 1957. Therefore they raised the need for the organization of a new meeting of communist and workers’ parties, where we would allegedly discuss the “problems of the movement”, which had come up since the previous meeting in 1957. To this end, at the beginning of June 1960, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union sent us a letter in which it was proposed that the meeting of the communist and workers’ parties of the countries of the socialist camp should be held, taking advantage of the occasion of the 3rd Congress of the Rumanian Workers’ Party. We replied to this proposal in positive terms and decided to send a delegation, which I was to head.
Meanwhile we had been informed about the disagreements which had developed between the Soviets and the Chinese. In February that year, Mehmet and I went to Moscow for a consultation of the representatives of parties of the socialist countries about the development of agriculture, as well as for a meeting of the political consultative committee of the Warsaw Treaty. As soon as we arrived at Moscow airport, a functionary of the apparatus of the Central Committee of the Soviet party introduced himself to me.
“I have been sent by Cornrade Mikoyan, who wants to meet you personally tomorrow morning about a very important matter,” he told me.
This urgency surprised me, because Mikoyan could have met me later. We were to stay several days in Moscow. Nevertheless I said:
“All right, but I shall bring Comrade Mehmet with me.”
“They told me the invitation was only for you,” replied Mikoyan’s chinovnik, but I repeated:
“No, I shall come together with Comrade Mehmet.”
I insisted on taking Mehmet with me because I guessed that in this urgent meeting about a “very important problem”, Mikoyan would speak to me about complicated and delicate matters. The fact that I was well-acquainted with Mikoyan and his anti-Marxìst and anti-Albanian stands made me all the more determined.
The next day we went to meet Mikoyan in his villa in Leninskie Gori. After the usual greetings, Anastasiy entered directly into the theme of the talk:
“I am going to inform you about the disagreements we have with the Communist Party of China, I stress, with the Communist Party of China. We had decided to tell these things only to the first secretaries of the sister parties. Therefore, I ask Comrade Mehmet, not to misunderstand us, but this is what we had decided and not that we did not trust him.”
“Not at all,” replied Mehmet. “Indeed I can leave.”
“No,” said Mikoyan, “stay!”
Then Mikoyan spoke to us at length about the differences with the Chinese party.
Mikoyan spun his tale in such a way as to create the impression that they themselves stood in principled Leninist positions and were fighting the deviations of the Chinese leadership. Amongst other things, Mikoyan used as arguments several theses of the Chinese which, in fact, for us, too, were not right from the viewpoint of the Marxist-Leninist ideology. Thus, Mikoyan mentioned the pluralist theories of “one hundred flowers”, the question of the cult of Mao, the “great leap forward”, etc.
Of course, we had our own reservations about these things, to the extent that we were acquainted with the activity and concrete practice of the Communist Party of China at that time.
“We have Marxism-Leninism and do not need any other theory,” I told Mikoyan, “while as to the ‘one hundred flowers’ we have neither accepted this view nor have we ever mentioned it.”
Among other things, Mikoyan spoke about Mao and compared him with Stalin, saying:
“The only difference between Mao Zedong and Stalin is that Mao does not cut off the heads of his opponents, while Stalin did. That is why we could not oppose Stalin,” continued this revisionist.
“At one time, together with Khrushchev we had considered organizing a pokushenie1 against him, but we gave up the idea because we were afraid that the people and the party would not understand.”
We made no pronouncement about the problems which Mikoyan raised, and after we had heard him out, I said:
“The major differences which have arisen between you and the Communist Party of China are very serious matters and we do not understand why they have been allowed to reach this point. This is neither the time nor the place to discuss them. We think that they should be solved between your parties.”
“That is what we shall do,” said Mikoyan, and just as we were parting he asked us: “Please don’t discuss these matters I raised with you, even with the members of your Political Bureau.”
From this meeting we understood that the differences and contradictions had come to a head and were serious. Since we were already acquainted with Khrushchev and Mikoyan, we were quite clear that they did not proceed from principled positions in the accusations they were making against the Chinese party.
As became even clearer later, the differences were over a series of matters of principle towards which, at that time, the Chinese seemed to maintain correct stands. Both in the official speeches of the Chinese leaders and in their published articles, especially in the one entitled “Long Live Leninism”, the Chinese party treated the problema in a theoretically correct way and opposed the Khrushchevites. This was particularly damaging to the latter and therefore they were trying to forestall the evil.
We discussed what Mikoyan told us only with the comrades of the Bureau, because the matter was extremely delicate and we had to act with caution and patience. Then there was also the request of the Soviet leadership that this problem should be kept secret.
Thus, on the eve of the Bucharest Meeting we had been informed of the Sino-Soviet differences.
At that time, I think, at the end of May or the beginning of June, Gogo Nushi, who was in Beijing at a meeting of the General Council of the World Federation of the Trade Unions, informed us by radiogram of the contradictions which had erupted in Beijing between the Chinese and the Soviet delegations. The Chinese delegation to the meeting opposed many theses of the report which was to be delivered, because in essence they were nothing but Khrushchev’s revisionist theses about “peaceful coexistence”, war and peace, the seizure of power in a “ peaceful way”, etc.
The Chinese invited the heads of several delegations (those who were members of the leaderships of the communist and workers’ parties) to a dinner, which they wanted to turn into a meeting, at which they would once again express their views in connection with the erroneous theses of the draft-report of the meeting. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping spoke first, followed by Zhou Enlai.
Gogo Nushi’s stand was that these things should not be discussed at that gathering, but should be settled through party channels, because the delegations had gone to attend the meeting of the General Council of the Trade Unions and not to discuss those matters. Many of the other delegations were of the same view. As a result, Zhou Enlai retreated and said: “All right, we shall on another occasion.”
All these things, together with what Mikoyan had told us in Moscow in February, as well as the indirect attacks which were being exchanged in the Soviet and Chinese press, showed that matters were being exacerbated in a way which was not at all Marxist-Leninist. The indications were that the joint meeting which was to be held in Bucharest, to which we had agreed to go, might reach an impasse or be a complete failure.
In this situation, a few days after the first letter we received another letter from the Central Committee of the Soviet party, which said that several parties proposed that the meeting of the communist and workers’ parties should be postponed and that the parties of the countries of the socialist camp should meet in Bucharest only to set the date and place of the future meeting of all parties. “Apart from setting the date and the place, at this meeting,” said the Soviets, “opinions could be exchanged without taking any decision.” We agreed on this proposal and decided to send a party delegation to Bucharest, headed by Comrade Hysni Kapo, to take part, both in the congress of the Rumanian party and in the joint meeting to set the date and the place for the coming meeting.
Why did I not go to Bucharest? I, personally, and the other comrades of the Political Bureau who knew about it, suspected that the problem of the differences which had emerged between China and the Soviet Union would be discussed there. We were not in agreement with such a thing because, first, we had heard only of one side of the argument, the Soviet side, and were not acquainted with the objections of the Chinese; second, the differences had to do with cardinal problems of the theory and practice of the international communist movement and we could not go to a meeting of such responsibility and make pronouncements without discussing and deciding our stand in the plenum of the Central Committee. However, we were unable to do this, because such problems could not be put forward in the Central Committee hastily. They had to be thrashed out thoroughly, had to be studied carefully, and time was required for this.
Therefore our Party sent Comrade Hysni Kapo to Bucharest to discuss only the date of the future meeting, as well as to take part in the free exchange of views on problems of the international situation after the failure of the Paris Conference, as our parties had agreed.
As we saw later, the Bucharest Meeting was to be transformed into a plot, which the Khrushchevites had prepared in advance. In our direction, too, intensified efforts were made, sometimes openly, sometimes in disguised form (because the Khrushchevites knew how our Party adhered to principle), in order to involve us in that plot.
When Comrade Gogo Nushi was returning to Albania from Beijing, in Moscow Brezhnev, who at that time had become chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, sought a meeting with him. Gogo met Brezhnev, who spoke to him at length about the differences with the Chinese.
Four to five days before the meeting in Bucharest began, when Hysni and I were discussing the stand he was to take in the congress of the Rumanian party, we received a radiogram from Mehmet, who had been for some days in Moscow for medical treatment. In the radiogram Mehmet informed us about an unexpected “visit” which Kosygin had paid him. When he saw him come in, Mehmet was surprised and thought it was a courtesy visit, although somewhat late.
“Comrade Mehmet, I have come to talk about a very important matter,” said Kosygin, without even bothering to inquire about his health, although he knew very well that Mehmet had gone there for medical treatment.
“Go ahead,” said Mehmet.
Kosygin spoke for an hour and a half about the contradictions they had with the Communist Party of China. Mehmet listened and listened and then said:
“All these things you have told me are very grave. We are astonished that they have been allowed to become as serious as this.”
“We are not going to make any concession to the Chinese,” said Kosygin.
“We told Mikoyan, when he informed Comrade Enver and me about this business, that these things should be solved between the two parties,” said Mehmet.
“We are not going to make any concession at all,” repeated Kosygin, and added, “We were very pleased with the courageous, heroic stand of Comrade Belishova in the talks with the Chinese in Beijing. The counsellor of our embassy in Beijing informed us of what she had told him after the talks with the Chinese.”
Mehmet still had no knowledge of these actions and intrigues of Liri Belishova, but he told Kosygin coldly and bluntly:
“I do not know what Liri Belishova has told you because I have been here. I know that when we talked with Mikoyan, he instructed us not to discuss these matters with anyone. Our opinion has been and is that these things should be settled between your two parties. But since they are not being settled in this way, then they should be placed before the meeting of the parties. The stand of our Party will be Marxist-Leninist and not opportunist or sentimental.”
Kosygin got up scowling and when he was about to go out the door, Mehmet dealt him a slap “Comrade Kosygin,” he said quietly, “you did not give me the opportunity to ask you—how is your health?”
Kosygin turned back, and, as if to excuse himself, he, too, asked Mehmet how he was feeling.
“I am very well,” said Mehmet, without prolonging the subject, and immediately after this conversation he stopped the treatment and made arrangements to return home by aircraft the following day.
Now everything had been made clear to us: Khrushchev was preparing the Bucharest plot and wanted to manipulate us, to compel us at all costs to agree with his revisionist views and stands.
Here in Tirana, too, the Soviet Ambassador, Ivanov, came almost every other day, sometimes to bring some book catalogue, sometimes for some unimportant information, but in fact, he came to sound us out, to learn whether I would go to Bucharest, what stand we would take, etc., etc. However I sent him off with the usual talk without telling him anything apart from what was known officially.
I remember that in the middle of June, Ivanov came to me in my office to “inform” me of a news item which I had heard two or three hours earlier over the radio. I understood that he was after something else, as usual. It was the period when the Soviets and Khrushchev were giving great publicity to the Paris Summit Conference, which was to bring “peace” to mankind. If I am not mistaken, Khrushchev had already gone to Paris, although the U-2 incident, in which an American spy-plane was shot down by a Soviet missile, had occurred.
“What is your opinion of the Paris Conference?” Ivanov asked me.
“Since they have gone there let them meet,” I said, “but in our opinion nothing will come out of this conference. The imperialists are what they have always been, aggressive and dangerous to the peoples and the socialist countries. Thus, I do not think that the Paris Conference will yield any result.”
A.fter two days or so the conference burst like a bubble, because the Americans not only did not apologize, but, on the contrary, declared that they would continue their espionage, and Khrushchev was obliged to go home after hurling a few “smoke bombs” against the imperialists. Ivanov came back and said to me:
“Things turned out just as you said, Comrade Enver! Did you read Khrushchev’s statements?”
“I read them,” I replied. “And that is how he should always speak against the imperialists, because they have not become ‘reasonable’ and ‘peace-loving’, and never can do so.”
Such was the situation on the eve of the Bucharest meeting, which, from beginning to end, was to remain a blot on the history of the international communist and workers’ movement. The Khrushchevites were organizing it allegedly to set the date of the future meeting, but the setting of the date was a formality. The Khrushchevites had another objective. What was important to them was the taking of a series of decisions to go “as a bloc” to the future meeting of all parties. “As a bloc”, according to them, meant to go closely united around the Khrushchevite revisionists in order to give unquestioning support to their betrayal of the Marxist-Leninist theory and the correct revolutionary Marxist-Leninist practice in all international and national problems. In short, Khrushchev thought that the time had come to establish his iron law over the herd he wanted to command.
However, the Khrushchevites were seeing and were convinced that two parties, in particular, the Party of Labour of Albania and the Communist Party of China, were not joining this herd, which they wanted to have completely under their control. What is more, in our resolute and principled stand they saw the danger of the exposure and defeat of their secret counter-revolutionary plans. Therefore Khrushchev had made his calculations like this: in order to make the meeting of all parties a meeting of “unity” and “solidarity”, that is, total submission, accounts first had to be settled with Albania and China. Since he was an inveterate revisionist, Khrushchev’s logic went even further: “As to the Party of Labour of Albania,” he deceived himself, “I shall leave it aside for the time being, will not attack it directly, because after all it is a small party of a small country. The Albanians are stubborn,” he thought, “they will get angry and jump up and down, but in the end they will surrender, because they have no one else to turn to. Whatever they do, I have them in my pocket.” This was his revisionist superpower logic. China remained the urgent problem for Khrushchev. This is how he saw things: “Either China will submit and quietly and tamely join the herd, or I shall condemn it and throw it out of the camp forthwith. In this way I condemn China as a splitter, and neutralize the Party of Labour of Albania, and I tighten the screws on any other head-strong element who wants to kick out.” In short, Khrushchev had to have a preliminary meeting to clamp down on the “disobedient”, so that the future meeting would be crowned by “unity” without any splits. This is why he wanted and organized the meeting at Bucharest.
All the parties of the European people’s democracies sent their first secretaries to Bucharest, therefore Khrushchev was not pleased that I did not go and asked:
“Why hasn’t Comrade Enver come? Could you inform him that he should come?”
Hysni told him:
“Comrade Enver is not coming now. He will come to the meeting of parties, the time and place of which we shall decide here.”
At first we knew nothing about what Khrushchev and company were hatching up in Bucharest. However, the first radiograms from Hysni soon arrived. All we had foreseen was being confirmed. The Bucharest Meeting, which set out to decide a date, was ending up in a crusade. Khrushchev insisted that the disagreements between the Soviet Union and China should be raised and discussed at the meeting, of course, in the direction and the way he wanted. “Decisions can be taken” at this meeting, said Khrushchev, and demanded that the other parties speak about the “grave mistakes of China”, express solidarity with the Soviets and “come out with a common stand”. I was completely convinced that we were facing one of the most perfidious and savage plots and immediately raised the question in the Political Bureau.
These were days and nights of ceaseless, careful, intensive work, well-considered and thrashed out from all angles. The dice had been cast, the “peace” with the Khrushchevites had come to an end. They had opened fire and we would reply to their fire with all our strength. Now there was not and could not be any further conciliation arid tactical “agreement” with the Khrushchevites. The great fight had begun. It would be a great and extremely difficult fight, full of sacrifices and repercussions, but we would carry on to the end with confidence and optimism, because we knew that right was on our side, on the side of Marxism-Leninism.
Everyone knows how the meeting developed: a voluminous material from the Soviets against China was handed out quickly, it was decided that the meeting of the parties of the camp would be held a few hours later, and then all the heads of the delegations of the communist and workers’ parties that took part in the congress of the Rumanian party would be brought together and Khrushchev would conf ront them with his desire that the “Communist Party of China should be condemned as anti-Marxist, as a Trotskyite party,” etc., etc.
In the former meeting which was organized by Khrushchev, Comrade Hysni Kapo, in the name of the Party and on the basis of detailed directives, which we sent him every day and frequently twice a day, attacked Khrushchev and the others for their anti-Marxist aims and the conspiratorial methods which they used, defended the Communist Party of China and opposed the continuation of such a meeting.
Khrushchev did not expect this. In the meetings which were held he talked all the time, stamping his feet and thumping his fist, became angry and spluttered with indignation. But Comrade Hysni Kapo, armed with the correo line of our Party and the special instructions we sent him continually, and with his charasteristic coolness and courage, not only did not yield, but gave Khrushchev as good as he got with his cutting replies.
In appearance Khrushchev aimed his many speeches at Peng Chen, who was the leader of the Chinese delegation, but always found the occasion to attack our Party and its representative. His aim was not only to attack our resolute stand, but also to say to the representatives of the other parties that the Albanians “are playing the game of the Chinese-.
“You, Comrade Peng Chen,” railed Nikita Khrushchev, “made no mention of peaceful coexistence last evening, you did not speak about it at all. Did he, or did he not, Comrade Kapo?
“I represent the Party of Labour of Albania,” replied Hysni. “There you have Peng Chen, ask him!”
“We cannot agree at all with Mao Zedong and the Chinese, nor they with us. Do you want us to send you, Comrade Kapo, to reach agreement with them?” Khrushchev asked Comrade Hysni on another occasion.
“I do not take orders from you,” replied Hysni, “I take orders only from my Party.”
Nothing could make him budge from the courageous, revolutionary, principled stand of, the Party. He never flickered an eyelash at the screams and the pressure of the charlatan Nikita Khrushchev. Cool, calm and principled, Comrade Hysni Kapo declared in the name of the Party that the Party of Labour of Albania considered the discussion of these questions in the Bucharest Meeting to be out of order, just as it considered misplaced the eff orts which the Chinese made in the beginning to discuss these matters with the trade union delegations. “The PLA considers the open or disguised polemic in the press harmful,” he declared. “As to who is right, let us judge this in the forthcoming meeting of the parties.”
The Khrushchevites were alarmed that the plot was going to explode in their own hands.
Then the visits back and forth, the “advice”, the “friendly consultations and talks” and the pressures disguised with jokes and smiles, began. Andropov, the man of backstage deals and intrigues (that is why they have made him chief of the KGB), was one of the most active and did everything in his power to compel our Party to take part in the plot.
The Soviets did not fail to involve their lackeys in the other parties in this dirty game. Andropov picked up a certain Moghioros and went to Hysni for a “visit”. Andropov sat back implying, “I am not going to speak”, and Moghioros prattled on and on about the “correctness of the Marxist-Leninist line of the Soviet party”.
“What is Albania doing?” asked Zhivkov. Only you do not agree.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Hysni.
“Nothing, I was only joking,” said Zhivkov, changing his tune.
“Joking about what? You had something in mind when you said that ‘Albania does not agree’.”
While the meeting was going on in Bucharest, here we met almost every day in the Political Bureau, maintained continual contact with Hysni Kapo, instructed him, and followed with attention and concern how events were developing. By now we had reached the unanimous conclusion:
The Bucharest Meeting is an organized plot against Marxism-Leninism; there Khrushchev and company are revealing their faces as rabid revisionists, therefore we are not going to make any concessions to the revisionists even if we remain alone against them all.
Our stand was correct and Marxist-Leninist. The black deed organized by Khrushchev had to be defeated.
It is a publicly known fact that our Party defended China at Bucharest with Marxist-Leninist courage and adherence to principles. We were well aware of the consequences of this stand. Today, so many years after the Bucharest plot, when unfortunately the Chinese party, too, is skidding irretrievably on the rails of betrayal, revisionism and counter-revolution, I want to stress once again, that the stand of our Party at Bucharest and Moscow was absolutely right and the only correct stand.
As I have written above, we had had reservations about certain views which had been expressed by Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders, we had reservations about the 8th Congress of the Communist Party of China, but after 1957 it seemed as if a positive change had been made in that party and their former opportunist mistakes had been put aside. Any party can make mistakes, but these can be corrected, and when this is done, the party is strengthened and the work progresses. In China there was no longer any talk about the 8th Congress, the rightist views of Peng Dehuai had been attacked, and the “one hundred flowers” had been dropped. In their official statements and in published articles the Chinese openly attacked Yugoslav revisionism, defended Stalin and maintained theoretically correct stands on war and peace, peaceful coexistence, the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
This is not the place and time to analyse the motives which impelled the Chinese leaders, and to explain whether or not there was something principled in these stands of theirs at that period (I have written about these matters in my diary), but one thing was clear: at that period the Communist Party of China came out as a defender of Marxism-Leninism.
The Khrushchevites accused us of “breaking with the 200 millions to unite with the 600 millions”. In defending China, we did not proceed from any financial, economic, military or demographic motive. If we had proceeded from these anti-Marxist pragmatic motives, then it would have been more “advantageous” for us to have lined up with the Khrushchevites, because the Soviet Union was more powerful and Khrushchev would not have hesitated to give us credits and “aid” immediately (of course, in order to demand the freedom and independence of our people, our Homeland and our Party in recompense later).
Hence, in Bucharest and Moscow, we did not defend China as a big country from which we might get aid, but we defended the Leninist norms and Marxism-Leninism. We did not defend the Communist Party of China because it was a big party, but we defended our principles, we defended Marxist-Leninist justice. At Bucharest and Moscow we would have defended any party or country, be it big or small numerically, provided only that it was with Marxism-Leninism. We proclaimed this loudly at that time, and time has fully confirmed it.
The struggle in defence of Marxism-Leninism against revisionism was the only basis which placed us in the one trench with the Communist Party of China.
These were the motives which impelled us to maintain the stands we did in Bucharest and later in Moscow. Our Party, tempered in struggles and battles, clear about and determined on its Marxist-Leninist course, said “stop” to the Khrushchevite attack, resisted this attack heroically and did not waver in the face of pressure and blackmail of every type.
Khrushchev could not forgive us for what we did to revisionism. But neither could we forgive him for what he had done against Marxism-Leninism, against the revolution, against the Soviet Union, against Albania and the international communist and workers’ movement.
The open fight began. The Soviet Embassy in Tirana, through its KGB agents, intensified the pressure, interference and sabotage in the dirtiest forms. The Soviet militarymen and civilians working in Albania committed provocations against our people by attacking the leadership, alleging that we had taken wrong positions, that we att.acked the Soviet Union, that we did not keep our word, and other base things. The officials of the Soviet Embassy in Tirana. with ambassador Ivanov at the head, tried to recruit agents and provoked our officers by asking them, “Who is the army with?”, and tried to work on certain elements to put them in opposition to the line of the Party.
This activity had two objectives: on the one hand, to incite our Party and people against the leadership, by hiding behind “all the good things” which the Soviet Union had allegedly done for Albania, and on the other hand, to seize the slightest opportunity to sow confusion by exploiting the sincere love which our Party and people nurtured for the Soviet Union.
At these difficult moments, the steel unity of the ranks of our Party, the loyalty of the members and cadres of the Party to the Central Committee of the Party and our Political Bureau, once again stood out brilliantly. In the Albanian communists, the provocations of the Soviet revisionists ran into an insurmountable barricade, an immovable rock. The only treacherous elements who opposed the monolithic unity of our ranks were Liri Belishova and Koço Tashko, who surrendered to the pressure of the Soviets and, in those moments of severe storms and tests, showed their true faces as capitulators, provocateurs and anti-Marxists. As events confirmed, both these elements had long placed themselves in Khrushchev’s service, had become his agents and fought to attack our Party and its leadership from within. The Party and the people unmasked them and condemned them with hatred and contempt.
The provocations which the Soviet Embassy in Tirana organized ceaselessly were now co-ordinated with the external pressures which were exerted on our Party and country by the Soviet revisionist leadership and its allies. These were of many kinds: economic, political and military.
In their efforts to overcome the resistance of the PLA and the Albanian people, the Khrushchevites abandoned every scruple, going so far as to threaten our country with the blockade to starve us. These rabid enemies of socialism and of the Albanian peopie in particular, refused to supply us with grain at a time when our bread grain reserves would last us only 15 days. At that time we were obliged to use our hard currency to buy wheat in France. The French merchant who came to Tirana sounded us out to find what was the reason that impelled Albania to buy grain from the Western countries when it had the Soviet Union as its “great friend”. Of course, we told the bourgeois merchant nothing. On the contrary, we told him that the Soviet Union had supplied us with grain, with maize, but we had “used it for the livestock”.
“Why worry yourselves about bread grain,” Khrushchev had said to us. “Plant citrus-fruit. The mice in our granaries eat as much grain as Albania needs.” And when the Albanian people were in danger of being left without bread, Khrushchev preferred to feed the mice and not the Albanians. According to him, there were only two roads for us: either submit or die. This was the cynical logic of this traitor.
However, the great rift in our relations with the Soviet leadership could not be covered up for long, especially when the Khrushchevites themselves were revealing it more and more each day.
The Soviet and Bulgarian ambassadors in Yugoslavia applauded the hangman Rankovic during those days, when, at a rally in Sremska Mitrovica, he described Albania as a hell enclosed with barbed wire”, the Bulgarians published a map of the Balkans and “by mistake”. included our country within the boundaries of Yugoslavia; in Warsaw, Gomulka’s men forced their way into the embassy of the PR of Albania and attempted to kill the Albanian ambassador; Khrushchev tolerated and whetted the appetite of the Greek monarcho-fascists, like Venizelos, when they played the worthless card of the annexation of the so-called Northern Epirus, etc., etc. During those days, these and tens of such things occurred from all directions against our Party and country. The hand of Khrushchev, who strove at all costs to force us to yield and submit was apparent, directly or indirectly, in all these anti-Albanian activities.
However, our Party and people stood firm on the correct Marxist-Leninist line. We told the communists and cadres what was occurring in the communist and workers’ movement, told them about the betrayal of the Khrushchevites, and the masses of the Party closed their ranks around the Central Committee to face the storm which was being raised by the Khrushchevites. They found no breaches in this block of steel and the banner of the Party waved and will always wave proud and unyielding in the teeth of any storm.
The Central Committee called on the Party and people to close their ranks, to safeguard and strengthen their unity and patriotism, to keep cool, to avoid falling for provocations, to be vigilant and fearless. We told the Party that this was the way to ensure the triumph of the correct Marxist-Leninist line which we were following. We told the Party that irrespective of the fact that the enemies were many and powerful, we would triumph.
With the provocations which were hatched up in Moscow or the other capitals of vassal countries, as well as through the Soviet Embassy in Tirana and its staff, the Khrushchevites were also pursuing another aim: they wanted to fabricate and gather false facts to have as weapons in connection with the accusation that we Albanians were allegedly ruining the relations and thus counterbalance our well-founded theoretical and political arguments. Moscow was terrified of this confrontation, especially if this were to take place at the meeting of the communist and workers’ parties of the world. This would be a serious defeat for modern revisionism, headed by Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites; therefore they did not want matters to reach that point. At all costs they needed our submission, or at least, “reconciliation” with us.
To this end, during the time that the Soviet Embassy in Tirana was operating through provocations, Moscow, through Kozlov, wearied itself sending letter after letter to the “Central Committee and Comrade Enver Hoxha”. In these letters they demanded that I should go to Moscow so that we could talk and reach agreement as “the friends and comrades we are”. “We must eliminate that minor misunderstanding and disagreement which occurred at Bucharest.” “Neither side must allow a small spark to kindle a big conflagration” etc.
Their aim was clear: to compel our Party to keep quiet, to reconcile itself to them and become collaborator in the betrayal. They wanted to drag us to Moscow and to operate on us in the “workshops” of their Central Committee in order to “convince” us. However, we knew with whom we were dealing and our answer was curt: “Comrade Enver Hoxha cannot go to Moscow except for the meeting of the communist and workers’ parties. We told you what we had to say in Bucharest; we shall state our views and our stand at the coming meeting of the parties.
The Khrushchevites were more than ever convinced that neither their flattery, their credits, their sickly smiles, nor their blackmail and threats would have any effect on the Party of Labour of Albania.
The other accomplices did not fail to participate in their efforts to persuade the PLA to give up its struggle against the revisionist betrayal. A series of parties of countries of the socialist camp sent us copies of the letters they had sent to the Communist Party of China. The Khrushchevites wanted to threaten us with these letters: “We are all in one flock, therefore consider matters well before you break away.”
Those who danced to Khrushchev’s tune also received the reply they deserved from us. “In Bucharest it was you who were wrong and not we. Ours was a correct Marxist-Leninist stand. We did not associate ourselves with you and we will express our opinion in Moscow.”
These letters all arrived at the same time and without doubt this was something suggested and arranged by the Soviets. It was interesting that when they affirmed the alleged “complete unity of all communist and workers’ parties” at the Bucharest Meeting, they did not define clearly on what problems this “unity” was displayed. Indeed in the letter from the Soviets, this expression did not exist(!). No doubt, the Soviets did not want to appear involved in this manoeuvre but had made a cat’s paw of the others. However, the Party of Labour of Albania was not confused by these base and banal tactics. In our letter we gave them a clear-cut reply to these distortions of the truth and we made this reply known to all, so that all the parties which rushed to “bring the Party of Labour of Albania to its senses” would understand clearly that the PLA was not a party which comes to agreement with traitors.
The PLA did not maintain its stand out of spite or any chance caprice. No. The letter referred to, like all the other documents of this period, with their lofty adherence to principle, their sound Marxist-Leninist spirit and the profundity of their judgements and scientific arguments, were not only a blow at the attempts to set our Party on a wrong road, but also a contribution and aid which we gave the sister parties, including the Soviet party, on how the issues should be judged, where the truth lay and how it should be defended with courage and adherence to principles.
Now we were preparing for the Moscow Meeting where we foresaw that a fierce struggle would be waged. Our Party had decided that at the coming meeting of the parties it would openly attack the betrayal of the Khrushchevite revisionists who had put themselves in opposition to the Marxist-Leninist theory. We would fight against their traitorous practice and policy, would defend the Soviet Union, Leninism and Stalin, would attack the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and hit out at all the vile, anti-Albanian actions of the Khrushchevites and Khrushchev personally.
The battle began in the commission which was to prepare the draft-declaration for the meeting. There the Soviets had Suslov, Pospyelov, Kozlov, Ponomariov, Andropov, and some others. A “solid” delegation this, saturated with “big brains” to impress us. Apart from us and the Chinese, almost all the other delegations were made up of low-ranking, third or fourth-rate people. It was clear that everything had been co-ordinated and agreement had been reached, so that they had nothing further to discuss.
We understood clearly that the struggle in the commission was only the prologue to the Brama. We foresaw that the Soviets and their hangers-on would make concessions, insignificant ones, of course, and would struggle to ensure that the declaration that would emerge from the meeting should be “neither fish nor fowl,” with dubious f ormulations, with everything smoothed over, with some minor retreats and formulations about the “factions and groupings” in which they classified our Party too. Therefore, the Political Bureau advised our delegation comprised of Comrades Hysni Kapo and Ramiz Alia, to fight for a strongly-worded declaration.
That was not all. We also foresaw the other variant, that the Khrushchevites might accept a declaration with correct and accurate formulations, provided that the meeting itself would go smoothly, without struggle or exposure, without any lifting of the piecrust to reveal what lay inside. We foresaw this because we knew they feared debate like the devil fears holy water. They would be ready to make concessions when they felt themselves hard pressed and would say: “You don’t like this?! Well, let us make it even stronger. Only there must be no fight. We shall make the declaration and sign it, without any condemnation of Bucharest, without principled struggle” and . . . what of it? Then, when everything is over, the spokesmen will come out: “Bucharest was poljezen2 our line pravilna, the Chinese and the Albanians were condemned for dogmatism but were corrected,” while for them the declaration would be a worthless piece of paper just as it happened in fast.
This was not what we wanted. The declaration must not be a cover for the revisionists’ corruption, but must be the result of the debate, struggle and exposure. In the correspondence which we kept up with our delegation in Moscow we cabled: “Our aim and task is not to collect declarations but to attack and expose the mistakes. We are not short of declarations.”
A stern struggle was waged in the preparatory commission. Suslov directed the whole thing in order to have the revisionist theses of the 20th Congress and approval of the line followed by the Soviet leadership included in the draft-declaration. Our comrades fought hard, exposed these views, and insisted that the formulation in the draft must be precise, Marxist Leninist, and in unequivocal terms. “No unclarity, no inferred meaning or expression which can be interpreted at will tomorrow can be permitted,” declared the representatives of our Party, Comrades Hysni and Ramiz.
They attacked the theses of the Khrushchevites about the taming of imperialism and told them bluntly that “the tendency to prettify imperialism, which has been observed, is dangerous”, and defended Stalin’s thesis that peace can be achieved only when the peoples take this question into their own hands. “To say that it is possible to build a world without wars today (Khrushchev’s thesis) when imperialism exists,” stressed Comrade Hysni Kapo, “is contrary to the teachings of Lenin.”
Contrary to the desires of the Khrushchevites, our delegation in the commission insisted that the draft-declaration stress that “revisionism is the main danger in the communist movement” and that Yugoslav revisionism should be mentioned specifically as an imperialist agency. Our comrades pointed out emphatically the danger of the thesis that “revisionism has been defeated ideologically” which Khrushchev and company wanted to impose on all the other parties. “Not only does revisionism exist but its horns are growing today,” said Comrade Hysni Kapo.
The representatives of our Party were faced with virtually a united front of revisionists. The Khrushchevite puppets, directed by Suslov and others, attacked them in order to force them to abandon the correct line which they defended. But Hysni Kapo told them, “Our Party will never agree to speak according to the wishes of this or that person, or as a result of pressures exerted on it.” He routed the accusations and provocations of Khrushchev’s lackeys and once again condemned the plot in Bucharest and the efforts to carry it out in Moscow.
When Suslov, this revisionist devoid of any scruple, dared to throw mud at our Party and likened its views to those of the counter-revolutionary Kerensky, Comrade Hysni slapped right back in his face:
“You have got the wrong address, Comrade Suslov, in talking to me about Kerensky. I want to declare that the Party of Labour of Albania was not formed by Kerensky. Kerensky is yours. We have recognized and still recognize Lenin and the Party of Lenin. Our Party, founded by Enver Hoxha on the basis of the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, is fighting to defend MarxismLeninism loyally and it will continue to do so.” In conclusion he added:
“Those who were the supporters of the counter-revolutionary traitor, Imre Nagy, cannot accuse the Party of Labour of Albania of being a bourgeois party or the Albanian communists of being Kerenskys.”
“There’s a misunderstanding here!” said Suslov trying to somewhat soften the crushing effect of the reply he received:
“Everything is clear to us, although perhaps not to you,” replied Comrade Hysni.
Confronted with incontestable arguments, the Soviets were obliged to retreat during the sessions, but the next day the fight began afresh over matters which had been decided, because Khrushchev had tweaked the ears of Suslov and company, The Syrian, Baghdash, a very docile lackey of Khrushchev’s, got up and made the accusation that our Party, in criticizing the Soviet leadership, was allegedly wanting a vnew communism”. Hysni Kapo made ready to reply to this base accusation from Baghdash. In a second speech which Hysni wanted to deliver in the meeting of the commission, amongst other things he stressed:
“Our Party sent us here to express its views”.
It has not intended and does not intend to formulate any new text-book of Marxism-Leninism, nor is it seeking any other communist movement, as Comrade Baghdash has suggested. Our Party has fought and is fighting courageously for the communism of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and, because it has done this, it is in power and is successfully building socialism. You, Comrade Baghdash, have apparently made a mistake in the address. Please direct your criticisms about the ‘new communism’ to those who claim such a thing, the revisionists, and not to us.”
Despite the persistence of Comrade Hysni, however, the presidium of the meeting of the commission, manipulated by the Khrushchevites, did not allow him to read his second speech, the text of which is kept in the archives of our Party.
As usual, besides the attacks and accusations, there was no shortage of expressions of hypocritical “friendship” towards our comrades. One day Kozlov invited Comrade Hysni to lunch, but he thanked him and declined to go.
The struggle of the delegates of the Party of Labour of Albania, the representatives of the Communist Party of China and of some other party, brought about that many of the revisionist theses were left out and Marxist-Leninist formulations were made on many questions. However, there were still unresolved issues, and about these Kozlov wanted to bring out “internal communiqués”. Afraid that they were losing the battle, the Khrushchevites were striving to save what they could. This was only the prologue to the fight. The real battle was stili ahead of us.
We knew that it would be difficult, stern, and that we would be in the minority. But this did not frighten us. We prepared ourselves carefully for the meeting so that the judgements and analyses of our Party were mature and well-considered, courageous and principled. We discussed the speech which I was to deliver to the Moscow Meeting at a special meeting of the plenum of the Central Committee of our Party, which endorsed it unanimously, because it was an analysis which the Party of Labour of Albania made of the problems of our doctrine and the anti-Marxist activity of the Khrushchevites. In Moscow we were to expound the unwavering line of our Party, and display the ideological and political maturity and the rare revolutionary courage which has characterized our Party throughout its whole heroic existence.
The documents of the Party deal at length with the proceedings of the Meeting of 81 parties, with the speeches and contributions of our delegation at those decisive and historic moments through which the communist world, and especially our country and Party, were passing, therefore it is not necessary to elaborate on these things.
Mehmet, Hysni, Ramiz and I, as well as a number of comrades assisting the delegation, set out for Moscow to take part in the Meeting of 81 communist and workers’ parties. We were convinced that we were going to a country in which the enemies had seized power and where we would have to be very careful because they would behave like enemies and would record every word and every step of ours. We had to be vigilant and prudent. We were convinced, too, that they would try to break the code of our radiograms in order to discover our aims and our slightest tactic.
In passing through Budapest we were met by several of the main “comrades” of the Hungarian party, who behaved correctly with us. Neither they nor we made any allusion to the problems. We boarded the train for the Ukraine. The staff of the train looked at us coldly and served us without speaking at all, while men who were certainly security officers, patrolled the corridors. We had not the least desire to open the slightest conversation with them because we knew who they were and what they represented.
At the Kiev station, two or three members of the Central Committee of the Ukraine had come to meet us. They gave us a cool reception, and we remained as cold as ice, even refusing to drink their coffee. Then we boarded the train and continued the journey to Moscow where Kozlov, Yefremov, member of the Central Committee, and the deputy chief of protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had come out to meet us. At the Moscow station they had also brought out a guard of honour, a band played anthems and soldiers paraded with martial step, just to keep up the custom as for all the delegations. No young pioneers came out to welcome us with flowers. Kozlov offered us his cold hand, accompanied with an artificial smile from ear to ear, and in his deep voice bid us welcome. But the ice remained ice.
As soon as the anthems and the parade were over we heard cheering, clapping and enthusiastic calls, “Long live the Party of Labour!” We saw that they came from several hundred Albanian students who were studying in Moscow. They were not permitted to enter the station, but finally they were allowed in to avoid causing a scandal. Paying no attention to Kozlov and Yefremov, who never left us, we greeted our students who were shouting with joy, and together with them, we cheered for our Party. This was a good lesson for the Soviets to see what sort of unity our Party and people have with their leadership. The students did not leave us until we climbed into ZIL cars. In the car Kozlov was unable to find anything to say except “Your students are unruly.”
“No,” I said, “they are great patriots and love the Party and their leadership whole-heartedly.”
Kozlov and Yef remov accompanied us to the residence which they had allocated to us at Zarechie, some 20-25 km outside Moscow. This was the villa where I had stayed many times with the comrades and with Nexhmije when I came on holiday. They told me once, “We have reserved this villa for Zhou Enlai and you, we put no one else here.” Even in the villa they had united us with the Chinese. As we proved later with the special detector we had brought with us, they had filled the villa with bugging devices.
I knew Kozlov well because I had talked with him many a time before. He was one of those who speak a great deal but say nothing. Quite apart from what we thought of them now, right from the first meeting I had gained the impression that this Kozlov had no brains. He pretended to know things, assumed poses, but his “pumpkin” had no seeds. He did not drink like the others and it must be said he was considered the second man in the leadership after Khrushchev.
I have written above about the quarrel I had with Kozlov and Pospyelov in 1957, in the “Kirov” Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre in Leningrad, over the speech I had made at the “Lenin- machine-building plant.
I remember that that night, when we returned from the theatre, the three of us were in one ZIL. I was in the middle. Kozlov said to Pospyelov, using the affectionate diminutive name, as is the Russian custom:
“You are a great man, one of the greatest theoreticians we have.”
“Nu njet, nu njet,”3 replied Pospyelov “modestly”.
I couldn’t understand the reason for all this flattery, but later we learned that this Pospyelov was one of those who formulated the secret report against Stalin. Kozlov continued:
“What I say is right, but you are modest, very modest.”
This conversation continued the whole way, with one flattering the other until we arrived at our residence. This was sickening to me because it is not our way at all.
I was less acquainted with Yefremov.
One Sunday when I was in Moscow with Mehmet at the time of the 21st Congress, Polyansky, then a member of the Presidium of the Soviet party and now ambassador in Tokyo, invited us to lunch at his dacha outside Moscow. We went. Everything was covered in white because snow had fallen. It was cold. The villa, too, was white as snow, beautiful. Polyansky told us:
“This is the dacha where Lenin used to rest.”
With this he wanted to tell us, “I am an important person.” Here we found Yefremov and another secretary, from the Crimea, if I am not mistaken. They introduced us to him. It was ten o’clock in the morning. The table was laden as in the fables about the Russian czars.
“Let us sit down and have breakfast,” said Polyansky.
“We have eaten already,” we said.
“No, no,” he said, “we shall sit down and eat again.” (Of course he meant “drink.”)
We did laot drink but we watched them drinking and talking. What colossal amounts they ate and drank!! We opened our eyes wide as they downed whole tumblers of vodka and various wines. Polyansky, with his intriguer’s face, was boasting without the least shame, while Yefremov with the other secretary, and another person who came in later, drank and without the slightest sign of embarrassment from our presence, poured out their sickening praises on Polyansky. “There is no one like you, you are a great man, the pillar of the party, you are the Khan of the Crimea,” etc., etc. The “breakfast” went on in this way until one o’clock. Mehmet and I were bored to death. We did not know what to do. I thought of billiards and in order to get away from this roomful of boozers I asked Polyansky:
“Is there a billiard table in the house?
“Yes, of course,” he replied. “Do you want us to come?”
“With great pleasure!” I said, and we got up at once.
We went up to the billiard room. We siayed there an hour and a half or two hours. The vodka, pertsofka4 and zakuski5 were sent up to them in the billiard room. Then we asked permission to leave.
“Where are you going?” asked Polyansky.
“To Moscow,” we replied.
“Impossible,” he said, “we are just about to have lunch.”
We opened our eyes in amazement. Mehmet said to him
“But what have we been doing up till now? H aven’t we eaten enough for two days?”
“Oh, no,” said Yefremov, “what we ate was just a light breakfast, while now the real lunch begins.”
They took us by the arm and led us back to the dining room. What a sight met our eyes! The table had been loaded all over again. The Soviet state of proletarians paid for all this food and drink for its leaders so they could “rest” and enjoy themselves! We told them: “We cannot eat any more.” We declined, but they wouldn’t hear of it and begged us to eat and drink without a break. Mehmet had a good idea when he asked:
“Have you got a cinema here? Could we see a film?”
“We have, indeed,” said Polyansky and rang the bell, ordering the projectionist to prepare to show a film.
After half an hour everything was ready. We went to the cinema and sat down. I remember it was a Mexican colour film. We had escaped from the stolovaya.6 The film had not been running for more than ten minutes, when, in the darkness, we saw Polyansky and the others stealing quietly out of the room back to the vodka. When the film was over we found them sitting there drinking.
“Come along,” they said, “now we shall eat something, “because it tastes fine after the film.”
“No,” we said, “we can eat and drink no more. Please allow us to return to Moscow.”
Very reluctantly they allowed us to get up.
“You will have to sample the beautiful Russian winter’s night,” they told us.
“Let us sample even the winter,” I said to Mehmet in Albanian, “but let us get away from this drinking den and these boozers.”
We put on our overcoats and went out in the snow. We took only a few steps and a ZIM drew up: two other friends of Polyansky, one, a certain Popov, whom I had known in Leningrad because there he had been factotum to Kozlov, who had boosted him to minister of culture of the Russian Republic. We embraced in the snow.
“Please come back,” they said, “just for another hour . . .” etc., etc.
We refused and left. However, I paid a price for this. I took a chill, developed a heavy cold with a temperature and was absent from sessions of the congress. (I related this to open up a corner of the life of the Soviet leaders, those who undermined the Soviet regime and the authority of Stalin.)
Now let us come back again to our arrival in Moscow before the meeting of the parties.
Kozlov, then, accompanied us to the villa. On other occasions, usually they took us to the house and left. But this time Kozlov wanted to show that he was a friendly comrade”. He took off his coat and went straight into the stolovaya, which was full of bottles, snacks and black caviar.
“Come along, let us have something to eat and drink,” said Kozlov, but this was not what he was really concerned about. He wanted to talk with us to learn with what opinions and predispositions we had come.
He began the conversation by saying:
“Now the commission has finished the draft and we are virtually all in agreement. The Chinese comrades are in agreement, too. There are four or five matters on which a common opinion has not been reached, but we can bring out an internal communiqué about them.”
Turning to Hysni for his approval he asked, “Isn’t that so?”
“No, it is not so. The work is not finished.
“We have objections and reservations which our Party has presented in the written statement we forwarded to the commission.”
Kozlov frowned, he did not get the approval he wanted. I intervened and said to Kozlov:
“This will be a serious meeting in which all the problems must be put forward correctly. Many questions have been put forward in a distorted way, not just in the draft, but especially in life, in theory and practice. Everything must be reflected in the declaration. We shall not accept internal notes and addenda. Nothing in obscurity, everything in the light. That is why the meeting is being held.”
“It doesn’t need a great deal of talk,” said Kozlov.
Mehmet jumped up and said in a derisive tone:
“Even in the UNO we speak as long as we like. Castro spoke there for four hours, while you apparently think you can restrict us!”
“You interrupted our speech twice in the commission and did not allow us to continue to speak.”
“These things should not occur,” I added. “You ought to know that we do not accept such methods.”
“We must preserve unity, otherwise it is tragic,” said Kozlov.
“Unity is safeguarded by speaking openly, in conformity with the Marxist-Leninist line and norms,” replied Mehmet.
Kozlov got his reply, proposed a toast to me, helped himself to something to eat and left.
The whole period until the meeting of the parties began was filled with attacks and counterattacks between us and revisionists of all ranks. The revisionists had opened war on us on a broad scale and we replied to their attacks blow for blow.
Their tactic was to do everything in their power to prevent us from speaking out at the meeting and openly putting forward our criticisms about the crimes they had committed. Certain that we would not budge from our correa opinions and decisions, they resorted to slander, alleging that the things we would raise were unfounded, would cause “division”, that we were making “tragic” mistakes, that we were “at fault” and should change our course, etc., etc. The Soviets made great efforts to brainwash all the delegations of sister communist and workers’ parties which were to take part in the meeting, in this direction. For their own part, they posed as “infallible”, “blameless”, “principled”, and as though they held thefate of the Marxist-Leninist truth in their hands.
The pressure and provocations were exerted against us openly. In the reception put on in the Kremlin on the occasion of November 7, Kosygin approached me, his face as pale as wax, and began to give me a sermon about friendship.
“We shall safeguard and defend our friendship with the Soviet Union on the Marxist-Leninist road,”. I told him.
“There are enemies in your party who are fighting this friendship,” said Kosygin.
“Ask him,” I said to Mehmet, who knew Russian well, “can he tell us who are these enemies in our Party?”
Kosygin found himself in a tight spot. He began to mumble and said:
“You did not understand me well.”
“Enough of that,” said Mehmet, “we understood you very well, but you lack the courage to speak openly. We shall tell you openly in the meeting what we think about you.”
We walked away from that revisionist mummy.
(During the whole evening the Soviets acted towards us is such a way as not to leave us alone in peace, but isolated us from one another and surrounded us, according to previously prepared stage directions.)
A little later the Marshals Chuikov, Zakharov, Konev, and others, surrounded Mehmet and me. As instructed, they sang another tune: “You Albanians are fighters, you fought well, you resisted properly until you triumphed over Hitlerite Germany,” and Zakharov continued to cast stones at the German people. At that moment Shelepin joined us. He began to oppose Zakharov over what he said about the Germans. Zakharov got angry and disregarding the fact that Shelepin was a member of the Presidium and chief of the KGB, told him: “Go away, why do you butt into our conversation? You want to teach me what the Germans are? When I was fighting them, you were still drinking your mother’s milk,” etc.
In the midst of this talk of the haughty marshals, full of vodka, Zakharov, who had been director of the “Voroshilov” Military Academy, where Mehmet and other comrades were sent to learn the Stalinist military art, said to Mehmet: “When you were here you were an outstanding student of our military art.” Mehmet cut short his words and said: “Thank you for the compliment, but do you want to say th at this evening too, here in Georgievsky Zal, we are superior and subordinate, commander and pupil?”
Marshal Chuikov, who was no less drunk, intervened and said: “We want to say that the Albanian army should always stand with us . . .” Mehmet replied there and then, “Our army is and will remain loyal to its own people and will loyally defend the construction of socialism on the Marxist-Leninist road; it is and will remain solely under the leadership of the Party of Labour of Albania, as a weapon of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Albania. Do you stili not understand this, Marshal Chuikov? So much the worse for you!”
The marshals got their reply. One of them, I don’t remember, whether Konev or some other, seeing that the talk was getting out of hand, intervened: “Let us end this talk. Come and drink a glass to the friendship between our two peoples and our two armies.”
Along with this feverish anti-Albanian and anti Marxist activity, Khrushchev and the Khrushchevites attacked us openly in the material which they sent to the Chinese, in which they also attacked them. They distributed this material to all delegations, including ours. As is known, in this material, Albania no longer figured as a socialistcountry as far as the Khrushchevites were concerned. Apart from this, during a talk with Liu Shaoqi, Khrushchev had said: “We lost Albania, but we did not lose much; you won it, but you did not win much, either. The Party of Labour has always been a weak link in the international communist movement.”
The Khrushchevites’ tactic was clear to us. The intention was, first, to threaten us by saying: “ It depends on us whether you are or are not a socialist country, and hence, in the document which we hand you, Albania is no longer a socialist country,” and second, to threaten the others that, “The Party of Labour of Albania is not a Marxist-Leninist party, and whoever defends it as such will be wrong and will be condemned together with the Party of Labour of Albania.” This meant in other words: “You communist and workers’ parties that are coming to the meeting should be clear already that the things Enver Hoxha is going to say at the meeting are slanders, are the words of an anti-Soviet element.”
At the meeting, it was quite clear how they had groomed Ibarruri, Gomulka, Dej, etc., well in advance.
A few days before I spoke at the meeting, Khrushchev sought a meeting with me, of course, to “convince” us to change our stand. We decided to go to this meeting in order to make it quite clear to the Khrushchevites once again that we would not budge from our positions. Meanwhile, however, we read the material of which I spoke above. I met Andropov, who during those days was running back and forth as Khrushchev’s courier.
“Today I read the material in which Albania does not figure as a socialist country,” I told him.
Without a blush, Andropov, who had been one of the authors of that base document, asked me, “What connection does this letter have with Albania?”
“This letter makes my meeting with Khrushchev impossible,” I replied.
Andropov frowned and murmured:
“That is a very serious statement, Comrade Enver. ”
“Yes,” I said, “very serious! Tell Khrushchev it is not he who decides whether Albania is or is not a socialist country. The Albanian people and their Marxist-Leninist Party have decided this with their blood.”
Once again Andropov repeated like a parrot:
“But that is a material about China and has nothing to do with Albania, Comrade Enver.”
“We shall express our opinion in the meeting of the parties. Good-bye!” and I ended the conversation.
The written indictment of China which was distributed was a dirty anti-Marxist document. With this the Khrushchevites had decided to continue in Moscow what they had not achieved in Bucharest. Once again they used a cunning, Trotskyite tactic. They distributed this voluminous material against China before the meeting, in order to prepare the terrain and to brainwash the delegations of other parties, and to intimidate the Chinese, to compel them to take a moderate stand, if they would not submit. This anti-Chinese material did not surprise us, but it strengthened the conviction we had in the correctness of the line and the Marxist-Leninist stands of our Party in defence of the Communist Party of China. The material cast a deep gloom over the participants in the meeting and would not be welcomed as the Khrushchevites expected. Splits would be created in the meeting and this was in favour of MarxismLeninism. We could count on 7 to 10 parties which would adhere more to our side, if not openly, at least by not approving the hostile undertaking of the Khrushchevites.
As it turned out, the Chinese delegation had come to the Moscow Meeting with the idea that the tempers could be cooled, and initially they had prepared a material in a conciliatory tone, tolerant towards the stands and actions of the Khrushchevites. Den Xiaoping was to deliver it. As was becoming obvious, they had prepared a stand of “two or three variants”. This seemed astonishing to us after those savage attacks which had been made on the Communist Party of China and Mao Zedong in Bucharest. However, when the Khrushchevites launched even more vicious attacks, like those which were contained in the material they distributed before the meeting, then the Chinese were obliged to completely alter the material they had prepared, to put aside the conciliatory spirit and to take a stand in reply to Khrushchev’s attacks.
There was a tense atmosphere when the meeting opened. Not without a purpose, they had put us near the speaker’s rostrum so that we would be under the reproving finger of the anti-Marxist. Khrushchevite “prosecutors”. But, contrary to their desires, we became the prosecutors and accusers of the renegades and the traitors. They were in the dock. We held our heads high because we were with Marxism-Leninism. Khrushchev held his head in his two hands, when the bombs of our Party burst upon him.
Khrushchev’s tactic at the meeting was cunning. He rose and spoke first, delivered an allegedly moderate, placatory speech, without open attacks, with phrases put together to set the tone for the meeting and create the impression that it ought to be calm, that we should not attack one another (they made their attacks in advance), that we should preserve unity (social-democratic), etc. With this he wanted to say: “We doni want quarrels, we doni want splits, nothing has happened, everything is going well.”
In his speech Khrushchev expressed the revisionist views completely and attacked the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania, as well as those who were going to follow these parties, but without mentioning any names. With this tactic in his speech he wanted to warn us: “Take your pick, either general attacks without any names, but with everybody understanding for whom they are intended, or if you don’t like it that way, we shall attack you openly.” In fact, of the 20 puppet delegates who spoke, only 5 or 6 attacked China, basing themselves on the Soviet material.
Khrushchev and his puppets knew that we were going to declare war on Khrushchevite and world modern revisionism, and that is why they insisted, both in the commission and in their speeches, that the question of factions and groupings in the international communist movement as well as the assessments of the 20th and 21st Congresses of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and several other points, which we opposed, should be included in the draft. It was clear that Khrushchev, who had abandoned Leninism and the Leninist norms, and who, as he himself claimed, had the “heritage and the monopoly of Leninism”, wanted to keep all the communist and workers’ parties of the world under his conductor’s baton, under his dictate. Whoever came out against his line, defined at the 20th and 21st Congresses, was a factionist, an anti-Marxist involved in groupings. Obviously this is how he prepared the stick for the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania, and tried to take the measures to expel us from the international communist movement, which he intended to subject to his anti-Marxist ideas.
After him, 15 or 20 others, carefully brainwashed and prepared, got up one after the other and spoke on Khrushchev’s line: “Nothing has occurred, there is no problem amongst us, peace reigns, everything is going well.” What a disgraceful bluff by the Khrushchevites, who manipulated these hired lackeys in order to pose before us as men of principle! This was the general tone. “They had synchronized their watches,” as Zhivkov had said in one of his speeches, and which Khrushchev cited in Bucharest as an “historic” saying.
While the meeting continued, the Soviets and Khrushchev were terrified of our speech and wanted at ali costs to convince us, if not to abandon our ideas, at least to soften our stand. They sent Thorez to mediate when they saw that we refused the meeting with Khrushchev. Thorez invited us to dinner, gave us a lecture about unityw and advised us to be “cool and restrained”. Maurice Thorez certainly knew the issues, because we had discussed them together, but it was clear that now he was acting as Khrushchev’s envoy. But he strove in vain.We refused every proposal and he threatened us:
“The meeting will attack you.”
“We fear no one because we are on the right path,” we replied. When they saw that they had failed with Thorez, the Soviets persisted with requests that we should meet Mikoyan, Kozlov, Suslov, Pospyelov and Andropov. We accepted. At this meeting in the villa in Zarechie, the Soviets presented matters as if nothing had occurred, as if they were not to be blamed at ali, but on the contrary, according to them, the blame lay on the Party of Labour of Albania! Allegedly it was we who were worsening the relations with the Soviet Union and, they asked us to tell them openly why we were doing this!
We rejected these accusations and claims and demonstrated to them with incontestable facts that it was not we, but they, with their stands and actions, who had exacerbated the relations between our parties and countries.
For their part, Khrushchev’s men, with utter shamelessness, denied everything, including their ambassador in Tirana, whom they called “durak”7 when they attempted to lay the blame for their faults on him. They wanted to get on good terms with us at all costs so that we would shut our mouths. They even offered us credits and tractors. But after exposing them, we told them, “If you do not admit and correct your grave errors, all your efforts are in vain.” The following day Kozlov and Mikoyan came back again but they achieved nothing.
The time for our speech was approaching and they made their final effort—they asked that we meet Khrushchev in the Kremlin. Apparently Khrushchev was stili kidding himself that he could convince us”, and we accepted the invitation, but not at the hour he set, in order to teli him that “not you, but we decide even the hour of the meeting” let alone other things. Apart from this, before we met him we wanted to send him an “oral message”. We checked the residence they had allocated us with our detector and found that they had bugged us with microphones in every part of it. The only room unbugged was a toilet. When it was cold and we could not talk outside we were obliged to talk in the toilet. The Soviets were intrigued to learn where we talked and, when the idea struck them, they sent someone to put some microphones in the toilet, too. One of our officers caught the Soviet technician when he was carrying out the “operation”, allegedly to repair a defect in the toilet, but our man told him:
“There’s no need because the toilet functions well.”
Our embassy, also, was filled with bugging devices and, knowing this, after we set the time of the meeting, we left the Kremlin and went to the embassy. We set up our apparatus and it signalled that they were bugging us from every direction. Then Mehmet sent Khrushchev and the others “a message” lasting ten to fifteen minutes, describing them as “traitors”, saying “you’re eavesdropping on us”, etc., etc. Thus, when we went to the Kremlin, the revisionists had received our “greeting”.
The meeting was held in Khrushchev’s office and he began as usual:
“You have the floor. We are listening.”
“You requested the meeting,” I said, “you speak first.”
Khrushchev had to accept. Right f rom the start we were convinced that, in fact, he had come with the hope that, if he could not avoid, at least, he could soften the criticism that we were going to make at the meeting. Then, even if this meeting did not yield any result, he would use it, as usual, as an “argument” for the representatives of other parties to tell them, “See, we offered our hand to the Albanians once again, but they persisted in their course.”
Khrushchev and the others tried to cast the blame on our Party and feigned astonishment when we related historically how the differences between our parties had arisen.
“I am unaware that I had any conflict with Comrade Kapo in Bucharest,” said Khrushchev without a blush.
“The Central Committee of our Party was not and is not in agreement with Bucharest,” I told him.
“That is of no importance, but the fact is that even before Bucharest you were not in agreement with us and you did not teli us this.”
Of course, the charlatan was lying and lying deliberately. Was it not this same Khrushchev who, in April 1957, wanted to arrogantly break off the talks, and even earlier in 1955 and 1956, had we not told Khrushchev and Suslov of our opposition over Tito, Nagy, Kadar and Gomulka?
Mehmet mentioned some of these facts to them and Mikoyan was obliged to mutter agreement.
But when he saw that he had his back to the wall, Khrushchev hopped from branch to branch, from one theme to the other, and it was impossible to discuss with him the major issues of principle which were in essence the source of the differences. Of course, he was not interested in touching on these things. He wanted the submission of the Party of Labour of Albania and the Albanian people, he was their enemy.
“You are not in favour of putting our relations in order,” said Khrushchev.
“We want to put them in order, but first you must acknowledge your mistakes,” we told him.
The talk with us irritated Khrushchev. Of course, he was not used to having a small party and a small country resolutely oppose his stands and actions. Such was the chauvinist logic of overlords of these anti-Marxists, who, just like the imperialist bourgeoisie, considered the small peoples and countries vassals, and their rights commodities to be traded. When we told him openly of his mistakes and those of his men he jumped up:
“You are spitting on me,” he screamed. “It is impossible to talk to you. Only Macmillan has tried to speak to me like this.”
“Comrade Enver is not Macmillan, so take back your words,” both Mehmet and Hysni snapped back at him.
“Where shall I put them?
“Stick them in your pocket,” Mehmet said.
The four of us got up and left without shaking hands with them, without falling into their traps, concocted with threats and hypocritical promises.
As we were leaving the meeting room, Mehmet went back and said to Khrushchev: “The stone which you are throwing against our Party and people will fall on your own head. Time will show this!” and he closed the door and joined us.
This was our final talk with these renegades, who still sought to pose as Marxists. However, the struggle of our Party and the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and their own counter-revolutionary actions would tear the demagogical disguise from them more and more each day.
Thus, these pressures had no result. We did not give way a fraction in our stand and neither did we tone down or change anything in our speech.
I am not going to dwell on the content of the speech which I delivered on behalf of our Central Committee in Moscow, because it has been published and the views of our Party on the problems which we raised are already known world-wide. I merely want to underline the way in which Khrushchev’s followers reacted when they heard our attacks on their boss. Gomulka, Dej, Ibarruri, Ali Yata, Baghdash and many others mounted the tribune and competed in their zeal to take revenge on those who had “raised their hand against the mother party”. It was both tragic and ludicrous to see these people, who posed as politicians and leaders “with a load of brains”, acting in this way as mercenaries, as hommes de paille8 as puppets manipulated by the strings behind the scene.
In a break between sessions Todor Zhivkov approached me. His lips and chin were trembling.
“Can we have a discussion, brat?”9 he asked me.
“With whom are we to talk,” I replied. “I said what I had to say and you heard me, I believe. Who has sent you to talk, Khrushchev? I’ve nothing to discuss with you, go up on the tribune and speak.” He went waxy pale and said
“I certainly shall get up and give you your answer.”
When we were coming out of the Georgievsky Zal to go to our residence, Anton Yugov, at the head of the stairs, said to us in a shocked tone:
“Where’s this road leading you bratya?”10
“Where’s Khrushchev’s road leading you, because we are on and always will proceed on Lenin’s road,” we told him. He dropped his head and we parted without shaking hands.
After I delivered the speech, Mehmet and I left the residence in which the Soviets had put us and went to the embassy, where we stayed for the rest of the time we were in Moscow. When we left their residence a Soviet security officer told Comrade Hysni in confidence, “Comrade Enver did well to go, because his life was in great danger here.” The Khrushchevites were capable of anything and we took our own measures. We sent the comrades of the embassy and the collaborators of our delegation out to the shops to buy food supplies. When the time we decided to leave came, we did not agree to go by aircraft, because an “accident” could happen more easily. Hysni and Ramiz stayed on in Moscow, as they had to sign the declaration, while Mehmet and I left the Soviet Union by train and ate nothing that came from their hands. We arrived in Austria, went down by train through Italy and from Bari returned safe and sound to Tirana on our own aircraft and went directly to the reception organized on the occasion of the 28th and 29th of November. We felt a great joy because we had carried out the task with which the Party charged us successfully, with Marxist-Leninist determination. The guests, too, wartime comrades, workers, officers, cooperativists, men and women, old and young were unrestrained in their enthusiasm and united firmly as a fist, as always, and all the more indifficult days.
Khrushchev and all those who followed him tried hard to ensure that the endorsed document of an international character would include the whole line of the Khrushchevite revisionists, which distorted the fundamental theses of Marxism-Leninism on the nature of imperialism, the revolution, peaceful coexistence, and so on. However, in the commissions, the delegations of our Party and the Communist Party of China strongly objected to and exposed these distortions. We managed to get many things corrected, many theses of the revisionists were rejected and many others were put correctly, until the final document emerged and was accepted by all the participants in the meeting.
The Khrushchevites were obliged to accept that document, but Khrushchev had declared beforehand: “The document is a compromise and compromises don’t last long.” It was clear that Khrushchev himself would violate the Declaration of the Moscow Meeting and would accuse us as though it were we who were violating the directives and decisions of that Meeting.
After the Moscow Meeting our relations with the Soviet Union and the revisionists of Moscow grew continually worse until they, unilaterally, broke off these relations entirely.
On November 25, in the final meeting which Mehmet and Hysni had in Moscow with Mikoyan, Kosygin and Kozlov, the latter made open threats. Mikoyan said to them: “You cannot live a day without economic aid from us and the other countries of the socialist camp.” “We shall tighten our belts and eat grass, ” Mehmet and Hysni told them, “but will not submit to you. You cannot conquer us.” The revisionists thought that the sincere love of our Party and people for the Soviet Union would play a role in favour of the revisionists of Moscow. They hoped that our many cadres who had been trained in the Soviet Union would return united as a block to split the Party from the leadership. Mikoyan expressed this, saying: “When the Party of Labour hears of your stand it will rise against you.” “Come and attend some meeting of our Party when we raise these problems,” Mehmet told him, “and you will see what sort of unity exists in our Party and around its leadership.”
These threats of the revisionists were not just words. They acted. The economic sabotage from Moscow and their experts mounted to a crescendo.
1. “Assassination attempt” (Russian in the original).
2. “Useful” (Russian in the original).
3. “Not me, not me.” (Russian in the original).
4. “Peppered vodka and hors-d’oeuvres.” (Russian in the original).
5. “Peppered vodka and hors-d’oeuvres.” (Russian in the original).
6. “Dining room” (Russian in the original).
7. “Fool” (Russian in the original).
8. “Men of straw” (French in the original).
9. “Brother” (Russian in the original).
10. “Brothers” (Russian in the original).
Next: 13. The Final Act