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Pravda Hits Reform Foes as Stalinists : Assails Gorbachev's Critics for Emphasis on 'Internal Enemies'

April 05, 1988|Associated Press

MOSCOW — The Communist Party newspaper Pravda today accused opponents of Mikhail S. Gorbachev's reforms of trying to bring back Stalinism and told other publications that there are limits to what they should print.

In a major full-page article, the authoritative newspaper said papers should not print material that undermines Gorbachev's efforts to reform the economy and to allow freer discussion of some issues.

Pravda said the Soviet Union needs people who are dedicated to improving housing, food supplies and services, not people obsessed with uncovering suspected enemies, as was Stalin.

"A patriot is not he who cries out loudly about an alleged 'internal threat' to socialism, who joining with a few political extremists seeks internal enemies everywhere," Pravda said.

"A patriot is he who acts in the interest of the country, of the people, without fear of any difficulty," the newspaper said.

Effort to Strengthen Gorbachev

Pravda's article appeared to be an effort to strengthen Gorbachev's hand going into an unusual June Communist Party conference and an indication that the Soviet leader still faces stiff conservative resistance. The conference gives Gorbachev the possibility of replacing opponents with his supporters to strengthen support for his policies.

The article was written as a criticism of a letter by Leningrad teacher Nina Andreyeva defending Stalin that was published by the newspaper Sovietskaya Rossiya on March 13.

The Soviet press in the last year has sharply criticized Stalin's excesses, and Gorbachev in November said the dictator's guilt for the purges in which millions died was "enormous and unforgivable." However, he defended Stalin's rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture.

Pravda echoed Gorbachev's criticism but said his opponents won't let the issue rest--either because they feel more comfortable with Stalin's repressive ways or because it serves their personal interest.

Criticized Stalin's System

"In one person this may be directed at taking more and giving less, in another in wrapping in respectable clothes their efforts to claim a monopoly in science, personal innocence or something else," Pravda said.

It criticized Stalin's system as "thoughtless execution of orders and suppression of initiative." It said the Soviet Union cannot hide from the fact that "many thousands" of party workers, economic and military officials, scientists and cultural figures were exiled or killed by Stalin.

Gorbachev embarked on perestroika-- his effort to restructure Soviet society--at a meeting of the Central Committee in April, 1985. Pravda said his opponents are concerned that the reforms will undermine the principles of the Soviet system.

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