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THE TABLET A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER AND REVIEW

ESTABLISHED 1840 REGISTERED AS A NEWSPAPER

VOL. 174 No. 5191

LONDON, NOVEMBER 4th, 1939

SIXPENCE

IN T H IS I S S U E

THE FIRST ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII

A Resume with Quotations from “ Summi Pontificatus ”

GERMANY AND RUSSIA

The Story of Five Years of Intercourse

SPAIN AND THE WAR A Letter from Our Madrid Correspondent

THE ARCHBISHOP OF CARDIFF

An Appreciation by David Mathew

Full L is t o f Contents on page 520.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK The Open and the Secret Systems

The Russian Peasantry

There is one very simple test which disposes of M. Molotov’s right to attack British Imperialism ; let the Soviet Union admit journalists and private travellers as freely as the British Empire does ; let it permit the world to examine the Soviet system, as our system has for generations been open to anybody’s examination and criticism. The Soviet have not succeeded in keeping their huge, grim secret of what life under their rule is like ; every now and then a foreign journalist, like the American, Eugene Lyons, leaves Moscow after years of residence, and lifts the curtain. Every now and again a Russian is fortunate enough to get out of Russia. We review another of these Russian- testimonies this week.

From Eslhonia it is reported that the new Red garrisons are having to be carefully segregated to guard them from the devastating impact of new and more humane ideas not in the Marxist curriculum. If the Soviet wants to be accepted as a Power on a normal footing, it must make up its mind to let its subjects travel in and out of Russia, and to let foreigners go there freely. While it does not do so it must not be surprised that the world concludes that the converging hostile testimonies are right, and that there is only too much to hide. Publicity is one day going to transform the whole Soviet order.

If the system could stand examination, it would have everything to gain by permitting unhampered travel and examination. Instead, it lives behind entrenchments of secrecy, decorated with its own statistics, instruments of propaganda which are not manipulated with sufficient care.

The terrible truth is that whereas the Bolsheviks gained support among the Russian peasants in 1917 by promising them their land, the peasant today lives a life of plantation slavery, and the process of collectivization brought with it only great advantage to the Government. Something like seventeen million horses were destroyed, and the peasants were told that machinery would do the same heavy work much more quickly. They were not told that their horses were being taken away to diminish their own independence. But so it was. When grain is collected mechanically the question then is how much of it the official gatherers will choose to return to the peasant, not how to make the peasant pay his tax. Those peasants who are outside collectivized farms are left with extremely small farms, perhaps four or five acres, and find themselves increasingly at the mercy of the general system. To call this the land for the peasants is to play with words, and to conceal the ugly reality that in the things that really affect a poor man’s comfort, freedom to change employment, freedom of movement, and of belief, as well as in the material standards of what there is to buy and with what money he can buy it, no one in the world is less to be envied than these enslaved peasantries.

But the Soviet only admits visitors, hand picked, to certain sides of Soviet life in the great centres of population, and to certain show farms and areas. When it is considered how rich Russia is in natural wealth, a system which so dreads the daylight stands condemned. It is, in fact, condemned. Its few champions in other countries are people who are not interested in what is happening in Russia, but in pulling down the institutions

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