19 December 1957* [KGB] Landau

KGB report. Physicist Lev LANDAU’s admiration for the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and his comments about Bolshevik fascism (17 pp). [Russian: 19 December 1957] Excerpt.


Identifying the rebels with the Hungarian nation and working class, he characterised the events in Hungary as ‘the Hungarian Revolution’, a ‘very good, joyful event’ in which ‘the warrior-nation’ was fighting for its freedom.

“… The Hungarian Revolution means that almost the entire Hungarian nation has risen against its enslavers, i.e. against a small Hungarian clique and mainly against our clique.

“… They are the true descendants of the great revolutionaries of all times… What they have now demonstrated is worthy of emulation. I am ready to get down on my knees before Hungary.”

Talking of the policy of the Soviet government on this issue, he declared:

“… They have decided to bespatter themselves with blood.

… The people running our country are criminals.”

On 12 November 1956 Landau was asked, during a conversation at his apartment, about our actions in Hungary, whether “if Lenin came back, his hair would stand on end”. He replied:

“… Lenin also got his hands dirty. Remember the Kronstadt Rebellion. That was a filthy business. The working class in Petrograd and the sailors at Kronstadt rebelled. They put forward the most democratic demands and were answered with bullets… It’s a fascist system.

“The first thing they did as early as October 1917, in the space of a few months, was to seize power and transfer it wholly into the hands of the party apparatus. Without delay they established the Party principle of expropriating the expropriators. They did all that for sound reasons.

“… It was no mistake, it was what they believed. That was how they carried out the revolution.”

When asked, “So the whole idea is flawed?” Landau replied, “Of course.”

“I consider that as long as this system exists there will never be any hope of it leading to something decent. The very idea is comical. I’m not counting on it.

“… Now the possibility, which I had never entertained, of a revolution in this country has arisen. Only a year ago it would have seemed laughable to think of a revolution here but it isn’t laughable. It will happen, it’s not inconceivable”.



Lev Landau (1908-1968) was arrested by the NKVD in April 1938 and not released until a year later. In 1946 he became a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1962.


  • 1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  • 2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
  • 3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been added to a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, Mark Chulsky

Full translation