Politburo meeting. Request by Molotov and Kaganovich to be re-admitted to the Party; exchange of views about Khrushchev and Stalin. [R 12 Jul 84, Pb]
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MEETING OF CPSU POLITBURO
12 July 1984
Comrade K.U. CHERNENKO
Comrades in attendance:
G.A. Aliyev, V.I. Vorotnikov, M.S. Gorbachev,
A.A.Gromyko, G.V. Romanov, N.A. Tikhonov,
D.F. Ustinov, V.V. Kuznetsov, V.M. Chebrikov,
Ye.K. Ligachev, N.I. Ryzhkov
1. Further limitation on industrial, administrative, and public construction projects in Moscow
CHERNENKO. The issue of limiting industrial construction projects in Moscow isn’t new, but let’s hear what Comrade V.F. Promyslov has to say on the subject.
PROMYSLOV (Chairman of the Executive Committee, Moscow City Soviet). As instructed by the CPSU Politburo, the Moscow City Party Committee, and the Executive Committee of the Moscow City Soviet, we have prepared proposals concerning further limitations to industrial, administrative, and public construction projects in Moscow. […]
12. The head of the CPSU delegation to the 1st (Constituent) Congress of the Workers’ Party of Ethiopia
GORBACHEV . As you know, the first (constituent) congress of the Workers’ Party of Ethiopia will take place this fall. It is proposed to send a Soviet party delegation led by Comrade G.V. Romanov.
CHERNENKO. A good idea.
A resolution [to this effect] is passed.
13. A list of main issues for deliberation by the CPSU Politburo in the second half of 1984
CHERNENKO. We have adopted the good tradition of drawing up a list of the main issues to be considered by the Politburo for the next six months. The Central Committee Secretariat has prepared the list. It includes eight issues and you have had an opportunity of familiarizing yourselves with them.
GROMYKO. These are good proposals.
TIKHONOV. They embrace all the key aspects of our domestic policy.
USTINOV. This is useful practice. We can adopt this list of issues.
POLITBURO MEMBERS concur.
A resolution is passed.
* * *
CHERNENKO. In addition to today’s agenda I would like to inform you about certain letters I have received.
As you know, we have taken a decision in response to one of these letters. It was a request from Molotov  to be re-admitted to the Party. I saw Molotov and talked to him. He received our decision with great joy and almost shed a tear. Molotov said this decision marked his second birth. He is now 93 but looks quite sturdy and speaks firmly. He declared that the Politburo has preserved and
continued that work which the Party conducted with determination. It’s just bad, he said, that you work until late at night as we did. Molotov says he takes an interest in the newspapers and reads the periodicals. You are managing things properly, he declared, and that is why the people support you.
USTINOV. That’s an important assessment on his part.
CHERNENKO. Molotov said he does not understand people who would be in opposition because of their grudges. He realises his mistakes, he declared, and has drawn the necessary conclusions. After our conversation Victor Grishin at the Moscow Party Committee gave V.M. Molotov his Party card.
TIKHONOV. All in all, we have behaved correctly in restoring him to the Party.
CHERNENKO. However, after this the CPSU Central Committee received letters from Malenkov and [L.M.] Kaganovich. Also there was a letter from Shelepin in which he declared that he was “a consistent opponent of Khrushchev” and he sets out a number of requests. Let me read out the letter from Kaganovich. (Reads letter.) A letter of similar content, with an acknowledgement of his mistakes, was sent by Malenkov.
TIKHONOV. Perhaps we won’t do anything about these letters?
CHERNENKO. For the meanwhile we may do nothing about these letters and agree to return to their consideration after the 27th Congress of our Party [to be held in 1986, tr.].
USTINOV. In my view, Malenkov and Kaganovich should be allowed back into the Party. They were important figures, leaders. Let me speak plainly. If it had not been for Khrushchev the decision to expel these people from the Party would not have been taken. There would not have been the scandalous outrages that Khrushchev permitted in relation to Stalin. Whatever you may say, Stalin is our history. No enemy did as much harm to us as Khrushchev, with his policy towards the past of our Party and State, and also towards Stalin.
GROMYKO. In my view, this pair ought to be allowed back into the Party. They were among those who ran the Party and State and for many years were in change of
particular areas of work. I doubt that they were unworthy people. For Khrushchev the main task should have been to select people for particular jobs and not to expose the mistakes made by particular individuals.
TIKHONOV. Perhaps we could return to this issue at the end of this year, or the beginning of next?
CHEBRIKOV. I would like to inform you that Western radio stations have already been reporting for some time that Molotov has been allowed back into the Party. Moreover, they claim that the toiling masses of our country and our Party know nothing about it. Perhaps we should put an announcement in the Information Bulletin of the Central Committee that Molotov has been re-admitted to the Party?
As for the re-admission to the Party of Malenkov and Kaganovich I would ask that we be given a little time to draft a report about the resolutions they wrote on lists of the repressed. If they are allowed back into the Party we may expect quite a number of letters from those who were rehabilitated in the 1950s and, of course, will be opposed to their readmission to the Party, especially Kaganovich. We must be ready for this. I think the Politburo should have such a note to hand when it takes a final decision.
TIKHONOV. If it hadn’t been for Khrushchev they would not have been expelled from the Party. He discredited and disgraced us and our policies in the eyes of the whole world.
CHEBRIKOV. Furthermore, a number of people were unlawfully rehabilitated in Khrushchev’s time. They had been punished quite correctly. Take, for example, Solzhenitsyn.
GORBACHEV . I think we could manage without publishing an announcement that Molotov has been re-admitted to the Party in the Central Committee Information Bulletin. The section for organisational and party work could inform the Party regional committees about this in its regular briefing.
As concerns Malenkov and Kaganovich, I am also in favour of re-admitting them to the Party. The time of their readmission, moreover, does not need, evidently, to be linked to the forthcoming Party Congress.
ROMANOV. Yes. They are already elderly and could die.
USTINOV. In my assessment of Khrushchev’s activities I am ready, as they say, to fight to the death. He did us a great deal of harm. Just think what he did to our history and to Stalin.
GROMYKO. He did irreparable damage to the positive image of the Soviet Union in the eyes of the outside world.
USTINOV. It’s no secret that the Westerners never loved us. But Khrushchev gave them arguments and materials that discredited us for many years.
GROMYKO. It was thanks to this, in fact, that so-called “Eurocommunism” came into being.
TIKHONOV. And what he did to our economy! […]
GORBACHEV. And to the Party, dividing it into industrial and agricultural organisations!
USTINOV. […] In connection with the 40th anniversary of the Victory over fascism I would suggest another issue for discussion. Should we not change the name of Volgograd back to Stalingrad? That would be well received by millions of people. But that, as they say, is an idea to be pondered over.
GORBACHEV. There are both positive and negative aspects of this proposal.
TIKHONOV. Recently a very good documentary film, Marshal Zhukov, was released, which provides quite a full and fair depiction of Stalin.
CHERNENKO. I’ve seen it. It’s a good film.
USTINOV. I must make sure to see it.
CHERNENKO. As concerns the letter from Shelepin, he requests that his material provision finally be raised to the level of former Politburo members.
USTINOV. In my view, what he has received since he retired is quite sufficient. There’s no point in him bringing up such matters.
CHERNENKO. I think that we shall limit ourselves, for the time being, to an exchange of opinions on these issues. But as you yourselves understand we shall have to return to them.
TIKHONOV. We wish you a good rest during your vacation, Konstantin Ustinovich.
CHERNENKO. Thank you.