Friday, February 4, 2022

The KKE, USSR and Sergey Radchenko's anti-communism

By Nikos Mottas.

Recently, the name of Sergey Radchenko made headlines in Greece's media. A historian and professor at John Hopkins University, Radchenko posted on his personal Twitter account “declassified documents” from the Russian State Archives concerning the relations of the Communist Parties of Greece (KKE) and the Soviet Union (USSR), as well as the struggle of the communist-backed Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) during the 1946-1949 Civil War. 

Radchenko's Twitter posts caused immediate enthusiasm to a number of Greek bourgeois media, including conservative newspapers (“Estia”, “Dimokratia”, etc) and news sites, which rushed to advertise the historian's “revealing information” about “How Stalin provided weapons to Zachariadis” and how “The KKE planned to detach part of Greek territory”. The anti-KKE instincts of known far-right commentators and politicians were alarmed and Radchenko's supposedly “revealing” posts gave an opportunity for the reproduction of old and outdated anti-communist slanders.

In fact, Sergey Radchenko's “revealing documents” do not add anything new to the already known history of the Greek Civil War. All those issues that Mr Radchenko presented as “new evidence” have been thoroughly analyzed and answered in the “Essay of the History of the KKE” (1st  Volume, 1918-1949). Furthermore, in its weekend edition (29-30 January) “Rizospastis” published an extensive article signed by Kostas Skolarikos, member of the CC of the KKE and head of the Party's History Section, that gives all the necessary answers to the unfounded claims of S. Radchenko.

Professor Radchenko has the audacity to talk about “Soviet Union's aid” to the Democratic Army of Greece and the KKE ($100,000 and 60 mountain guns!) when it is known to everyone that the national army had received immense support, in both military and economic terms, by the United States and Britain. Here is what cde. Skolarikos writes in “Rizospastis”:

“The issue of equipment for the people's army was acute due to the delayed passage towards the generalized armed struggle. DSE rightly appealed to its international class allies to resolve it. The Democratic Army did not receive aid only from the USSR. Solidarity committees were founded in several capitalist countries in order to help the imprisoned and exiled militants in many ways and to spread the truth about the struggle in Greece. In France, for example, various personalities such as Paul Eluard, Henri Bassis and others. Of course, the Democratic Army relied more on the countries where the working class and its social allies were beginning the socialist construction within the conditions of exit from the Second World war (Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, GDR). The aid that DSE received from the USSR and the countries of socialist construction was far short of the “rivers” of supplies sent by the capitalist states in order to consolidate the local exploiters' power, through the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan which, in Greece, was overwhelmingly allocated for military purposes”.
Another false claim, which has been widely reproduced by anti-communist propaganda, is the argument that the KKE aimed to detach part of Greece's national territory. In order to support this fabrication they deliberately distort a letter sent by Nikos Zachariadis and Markos Vafiadis to the CC of the CPSU on 7 July 1948, which reads:
DSE guerrillas in Grammos mountains.
“As you know, our plan was summed up to this: To significantly erode monarcho-fascism (as the KKE was referring, back then, to the post-occupational bourgeois regime) during its attack against DSE in Northern Pindos, so that we can counterattack with our reserves, which for this purpose we keep ready with the minimum pursuit to detach a sizeable part of Northern Greece, in order to gather and efficiently organize the forces of liberated Greece for the further weakening and exposing of monarcho-fascism”.
What the anti-communist propaganda does is to distort the meaning of the phrase about the “detachment of a sizeable part of Northern Greece”. They claim that “the KKE aimed to extract a part of Greek territory”, something that is outrageously false. Here is what “Rizospastis” points out:

“As it is pointed out in the text, the long-term goal of DSE was the liberation of territories where, as in the period of the Occupation, the leadership of the workers-people's movement, the Provisional Democratic Government would settle. These territories would be the base for the further development of the struggle against the bourgeois regime, which according to the then elaborations of the KKE did not aim at overthrowing capitalist power – as it should – but at exerting pressure for democratization. This goal was part of two plans (under the code names “Halyps I” and “Halyps II”) which were prepared in the spring of 1946, before the formation of DSE, and included generalized uprising in the regions of Macedonia and Thrace, focusing on Thessaloniki with the participation of pro-EAM forces that continued to remain inside the army (eventually these plans were not implemented). A similar military aim was adopted by the 3rd Plenary of the CC of the KKE (September 1947) which decided to drop the slogan of general armed struggle. All the above aren't occult information but have long been made public by the KKE itself.”

“Of course, I am an anti-Communist”

But why Sergey Radchenko decided to reproduce all this known propaganda and to present it as “new evidence”? Does he have any particular interest about the history of the KKE or the Greek communist movement? Why did he suddenly become a favorite figure of anti-communists and right-wingers in Greece? The answer is simple.

Radchenko is an anti-communist himself. Here is what he wrote in his Twitter account: “By the way, people who argue that I am an anti-Communist: I agree. Of course, I am an anti-Communist. I have first-hand experience of the USSR, which offered free-of-charge lifetime inoculation against Communism. No boosters required!”. 

We don't know what kind of “first-hand experience of the USSR” Professor Radchenko had and, to be honest, we don't care. However, we must point out that the majority of those who had “first-hand experience” of the Soviet Union seem to reminisce the socialist period, having lived more than 30 years in capitalist barbarity. Several polls conducted in Russia indicate that despite the decades of severe anti-communist, anti-Soviet propaganda, a large portion of the population still reminisces the Soviet Union. According to a poll conducted by Levada Center a few months ago, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the counterrevolutionary events in the USSR, showed that 63 per cent of Russians regret the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

According to another poll conducted in August 2021, almost half of the participants (49 per cent) said that they would prefer the Soviet political system. In 2020, surveys by Levada Center showed that 47 per cent of Russians acknowledged that life in the country was better before Gorbachev's destructive “perestroika”, while three out of four people (75 per cent) in the Russian Federation regard the Soviet period as the best time in the country's history. The news for anti-communists like Radchenko are even worse when it comes to Stalin, as 70 per cent of Russians seem to have a “rather positive” view on him.

We really don't know where Mr Radchenko received the “free-of-charge lifetime inoculation against Communism”. Perhaps the historian of Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs had his anti-communist vaccination as a fellow at the US government-funded Woodrow Wilson International Center or during his academic career in the United States. After all, in the capitalist world, anti-communism has always been a useful tool for establishing an academic career in political history: Robert Conquest, Robert Service, Timothy Snider, Richard Pipes, Stéphane Courtois are some of the prominent masters of anti-communist fabrications who paved the way for Radchenko and others.  

By openly declaring his anti-communism, Professor Radchenko admitted that he is far from being an “objective historian”, but rather another apologist of the capitalist exploitative system. 

* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of In Defense of Communism