MOSCOW. (Dr. Valentin Falin for RIA Novosti.) -- Myths are known to persist, as proved by Winston Churchill's speech in Fulton in 1946. To this day it is regarded as the "anti-communist manifesto" that unleashed the Cold War and encouraged Stalin to erect the "iron curtain," which cut off a half of Europe from the "free world."
How much of the above is true? Words in politics do not service truth or moral values, but somebody's interests, which are sometimes profane. This is why it would be useless to argue with Churchill. Instead, we should ask ourselves why Churchill was invited to read the last rites for the anti-Hitler coalition and to proclaim a U-turn in the Western policy. Seven months before Fulton, the British electorate refused to reelect Churchill because the British Conservatives and he personally proved unable to come to terms with the Soviet Union.
U.S. President Harry Truman saw Churchill's dislike of Moscow, his attempts to put spokes in the wheels of "Russian barbarians," sabotage of the Second Front idea, and, by the end of the war, open attempts to steal the fruit of common victory as the graduation diploma for the title of statesman. To him, Churchill was the best imaginable partner in the common pursuit of Russophobia, the lodestar of Truman's performance as senator and president.
By March 1946, Truman had made short shrift of the heritage left to him by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He had pensioned off his predecessor's colleagues or deprived them of real influence on state affairs. But his personal prestige was not sufficient to bury Roosevelt's program of post-war world order. He needed a more respected politician to blacken his recent ally - the Soviet Union, which bore the brunt in the struggle against Nazism, - and to convince the American public that it had become an enemy overnight.
He needed a witness, a former member of the Big Troika who would hint at circumstances that had pushed Western democracies into the same boat with Moscow. But the boat had cast anchor in a safe haven and so the democracies could get rid of the "alien member" who resisted the Anglo-Saxon interpretation of the international rules of the game.
Winston Churchill was a champion of fooling the people in Britain or across the ocean. Rhetoric was his hobbyhorse. He was an unrivalled master of raping, distorting and ignoring facts. While trying to scare the public with a Soviet threat, the former prime minister, naturally, did not mention his conference with Roosevelt and their chiefs of staff in Quebec in August 1943, where he suggested collusion with Nazi generals for planning a war against the Soviet Union. The MI5 head, Sir Stewart Menzies, held a series of secret meetings with his German counterpart, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, in the unoccupied part of France to discuss making Germany a friend and the Soviet Union an enemy.
Churchill, who had a very good memory, "forgot" to mention the fact that in spring 1945, a few months before the capitulation of Germany, he had ordered the planning of Operation Unthinkable against the Soviet Union that involved "the re-equipment and re-organization of German manpower." The date for a third world war was set at July 1, 1945.
Nobody mentioned Churchill's other "feats," which prolonged the war in Europe for at least 18-24 months and claimed millions of lives that could have been saved.
Maybe the Soviet leaders wanted to trample over Europe and force their vision of "power by the people" on it? There has always been a shortage of political angels in Moscow. But here is what Lucius D. Clay, Deputy U.S. Military Governor of Germany, who cannot be suspected of pro-Soviet sentiments, reported to the State Department in April 1946.
He said the Soviet representatives in the Allied Control Council could not be accused of breaching the Potsdam Agreements. To the contrary, they are fulfilling them most honestly, demonstrating a sincere desire to be friendly with and respect for the United States, he said. We did not for a second believe in the possibility of a Soviet aggression, and we still do not believe it, he said.
This does not sounds at all like what Churchill said in Fulton.
The Kremlin had no time or money for "exporting the revolution," as it had to resurrect the Soviet Union from ruins, normalize life, rebuild industrial enterprises, tens of thousands of kilometers of railroad lines, and collective and state farms that had to feed the people. Moreover, Moscow did not envision a "socialist future" for Germany, the main cause of its plight.
Wilhelm Pieck, the leader of German Communists, wrote down in his diaries the recommendations he had received from Stalin during personal meetings in 1945-1952. "Do not attempt to create a mini-Soviet Union in East Germany or undertake socialist reforms. Your task is to carry through the 1848 bourgeois revolution, which Bismarck and then Hitler halted," Stalin told him.
Stalin thought the split of Germany contradicted the strategic interests of the Soviet Union, and saw resistance to the separatist trends encouraged by France, Britain and the U.S. as the basis for consolidating different political anti-fascist forces in Germany.
In 1946 and 1947, the Soviet Union offered the three Western allies to hold general free elections in Germany with a view to forming a national government, to sign a peace treaty with Germans, and to withdraw all foreign troops, including the Soviet ones, from the country. Germans were offered the freedom to choose of a social and economic regime. Moscow favored the Weimar variant.
What was Washington's reaction? "We have no reason to trust the democratic will of the German people," said the US Secretary of State.
Moscow was not happy with the Versailles-style sanitary cordons, with which Churchill and other "democrats" wanted to surround the Soviet Union. But it did not plan to trample down on anyone in 1945 or 1946. A vivid proof is Finland, which has benefited considerably from its commitment to neighborly relations with the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, very few countries followed its example. But it should be recalled that until 1947 or 1948, the governments in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania were led by bourgeois politicians Edward Benes, Ferencz Nagy and Petru Groza. Moreover, Hungary had inherited an effective bureaucratic and judicial system from the Horty regime.
"Popular fronts" in the Soviet Union's neighbors were the first victims of the Cold War engineered by Washington as a prelude to a hot war. The adequacy of the Kremlin's response measures can be argued, but objective researchers will agree that these were indeed response measures.
People sometimes ask if the Cold War ended with the demise of the Soviet Union. I don't think so. It is enough to read the resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Russia to see that the spirit of the Fulton speech has not died. For centuries, hatred of Russia has distorted the world outlook and the actions of the West regarding the Russian nation, and it still poisons the minds of many "democrats."
President Boris Yeltsin, his Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev and other statesmen of the first post-Soviet years of Russia's modern history bruised their knees repenting Russia's real and imaginary sins, but Russia-haters are still not satisfied. But then, they are probably waiting for Russia to repeat the fate of Scythians, a nomadic tribe that ceased to exist in the first century BC.