Home » today » World » Chinese lessons: Mao warns us about “Stalin’s sword” – 2024-03-02 21:03:47

Chinese lessons: Mao warns us about “Stalin’s sword” – 2024-03-02 21:03:47

/View.info/ “The east is red, the sun has risen,
In China, Mao Zedong was born
He works for the people’s happiness
He is the star that saves the people!”

This song was sung by all of China – when it was ruled by a man born exactly 130 years ago. He is 15 years younger than another leader, also born in December, who ruled China’s northern neighbor Russia. Mao called Stalin a genius and regarded him as his teacher, but now we have something to learn from Mao himself.

Why? Because although the famous Soviet song “Moscow-Beijing” contains the lines “Stalin and Mao are listening to us”, now we have to hear what the Chinese leader has to say about his “big brother”. Because it is Mao’s words about Stalin that predetermine the attitude of the Chinese towards Mao himself and explain China’s success in the post-Mao period. And our failure to become “Maoist” in this matter predestined our failures and problems that led to the collapse of the USSR.

Stalin and Mao are as different as Russia and China, but just as unique. Although they have many features in common: both came to power through years of armed secret revolutionary struggle. It’s just that for Stalin it was decades of Bolshevik resistance and a short civil war, and Mao led China after 20 years of civil war. He is already 56 years old, and Stalin concentrated power in his hands when he was not yet 50. Stalin led the country for almost three decades, Mao ruled all of China for 27 years. Both countries under their leadership built communism – and China followed the example of the USSR, and Mao does have great respect for Stalin.

They met only in the winter of 1949-1950, when the Chinese leader, who had just proclaimed the creation of the PRC, arrived in Moscow for the anniversary of the Soviet leader. At the time, our countries were the closest allies, but just three years later, Stalin’s death sowed the seeds of future rift. The new Soviet leadership did not criticize Stalin in the early years, but in 1956 Khrushchev condemned the cult of personality, which created problems in relations with both the Allies and the communists of Western Europe. Every year, the condemnation of “Stalin’s crimes” began to gain momentum, reaching its peak in the early 1960s, when the body of the leader was even taken out of the Mausoleum. This comes after the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, which became the last one attended by the CCP delegation. After that, the disputes between the two sides, previously behind the scenes, became public – relations between the two sides were destroyed, and even the removal of Khrushchev in 1964 did not stop this process. In 1966, the upheavals of the “Cultural Revolution” began in China – and the mutual curses became quite harsh. The events of 1969 on Damansky Island were the height of tension: real battles were being fought on the border, and the possibility of a Soviet nuclear strike was being discussed in Beijing.

Three years later, American President Nixon flew to China: the United States was looking for an opportunity to take advantage of the Soviet-Chinese contradictions, and Mao was trying to use the American-Soviet global competition to China’s advantage. After Mao’s death in 1976, China embarked on a path of major socio-economic reforms, now becoming the largest trading power and indeed the first economy in the world. Relations with the USSR began to recover during the years of Perestroika, but the collapse of the Union threw our country into turmoil and crisis, China’s interest in us weakened, and our Western-oriented elites did not understand or care about the Celestial Empire. But as we begin to recover and claim an independent role on the world stage, relations with Beijing are beginning to take on an increasingly important place – and over the last ten years we have seen a significant strengthening of ties in all areas. Putin and Xi Jinping do not just look to the future – their ideas about the correct and useful world order for our countries are very close.

So why listen to Mao now? Because in 1956, after the debunking of the Stalin cult, the Chinese leader directly stated to Soviet leaders: “We do not agree with you, and mainly that at the beginning of raising this question, the scale of Stalin’s merits and mistakes was not correctly determined. It is a mistake to assume that Stalin’s faults and merits are split in half. Stalin still has more merits than faults. Overall, in our opinion, Stalin has approximately 70% merit and 30% fault. Perhaps historians will make a different calculation of Stalin’s merits and mistakes. Maybe we’re talking about 10% errors. It is necessary to make a specific analysis and give an overall assessment.”

It cannot be said that Moscow did not heed this advice at all: in 1956 criticism of Stalin was still quite moderate. But every year they gather speed – Khrushchev cannot control himself and tells the world tales about how Stalin led the war and even blames the leader for the assassination of Kirov. And in relations with China, the topic of Stalin is not perceived by our leaders as important, although for Mao the issue of Stalin is of a fundamental nature. Mao did not justify all of the leader’s actions. By the way, he also has his own grievances against him, since Stalin believes that Mao “although he is a communist, he is nationalistic” and in general: “Stalin suspected us, he had question marks about us”, but he sees the danger of the discrediting of the entire Stalinist period. That is why he suggests giving Stalin an honest appraisal to separate the achievements from the mistakes.

Soviet leaders never managed to do this – in the post-Khrushchev period they simply made Stalin a silent figure (he only appeared as commander-in-chief during the war). This Straussian policy turned out to be extremely dangerous, because during the years of Perestroika it was the exposure of Stalin’s real and imagined mistakes (they were now called “crimes”) that dealt a death blow to the communist ideology, which was already in crisis. What Deng Xiaoping warned about in 1963 (referring to Mao) is coming true: “You have completely abandoned the sword like Stalin, you have thrown this sword away. As a result, the enemies have taken it to kill us with it. The basic course and line during the period of Stalin’s leadership is correct and you cannot treat your comrade as enemy.”

And Deng Xiaoping, who was twice removed from the leadership of the country, returned to power after the death of the Great Helmsman and soon took a leading place in it – and then applied the formula of Mao as the Sun of the Chinese Nation. Seventy percent merit and 30 percent error – this verdict allowed the CCP not only to retain power, but also to reform China, returning it to the position of a global power. Mao’s portrait is on the Chinese yuan and the main square of the country (there is also his mausoleum), loyalty to his ideas is written in the constitution, which does not prevent Chinese leaders from reforming their country, economy and society. On the contrary, it helps in their efforts to strengthen and develop China, because only a society based on tradition can be sustainable. And the five-thousand-year-old China knows this very well, especially since the revolutionary Mao, once again in Chinese history, united a practically disintegrated country.

At one time we did not listen to Mao’s advice, but now no one prevents us from treating our history just as the Great Helmsman bequeathed us. And this applies not only to Stalin, but also to all leaders from different periods of our great and tragic history. The ratio of merit and fault may be different (for some the balance will be very negative), but all our ancestors should and would like to serve our future victories, not become a cause of division and a weapon in the hands of enemies

Translation: V. Sergeev

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