#12 - JRL 7175
From: Edward Lozansky <Lozansky@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003
Subject: Re: Nina Khrushcheva article in the Nation (JRL #7168)
Nina's Khrushcheva article in JRL 7168 reminded me of a favorite tool of Soviet propaganda when it declared that "All Soviet people unanimously..." The rest of the sentence could be anything from supporting the latest decision of the Central Committee to condemning American imperialists to demanding the immediate end of capitalist exploitation of the masses.
Now if you believe the granddaughter of Soviet Dictator Nikita Khrushchev all Russian intellectuals living in the US who escaped the communist regime in the USSR are unanimous in condemning President Bush for his Iraq policy and they compare him with no one else but Leonid Brezhnev who, of course, was the one who orchestrated the Kremlin coup and sent Nina's grandfather into early and obviously involuntary retirement back in October of 1964.
To justify her point she even found one such intellectual - Roman Kaplan, the owner of Russian restaurant Samovar in Manhattan. I know Roman very well and he is a really nice guy. Every time I am in New York and come to Samovar for dinner he brings two vodka shots to my table, one for me and one for himself - on the house. I'd love to say that he does it only for me but to be frank other frequent visitors enjoy the same hospitality and Roman gets very dizzy by the end of the evening. I am not sure if this makes him an intellectual but I am not aware of his essays or books or lectures delivered at universities or even high schools, but maybe I somehow missed them or Nina knows something that we do not know. In any event, I understand, of course, that by saying these words there is a great chance that the next time I am at Samovar Roman will not stop by at my table, but I am ready to face this brutal reality. Didn't we escape communism to be able to speak freely even at the risk of missing a free drink?
However, please do not underestimate Miss Khrushcheva. She understands that one Roman Kaplan even if he is the greatest Russian intellectual on earth is not enough to make a strong case. So she adds to her story the names of Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, whom she describes as CO-owners of Samovar. Obviously these are very well known names and if they indeed compared GW to Brezhnev I for one would be very impressed. The only problem is that Joseph Brodsky died a few years ago and I can bet the whole bucket of cold Stoli that Baryshnikov did not talk to Miss Khrushcheva and did not share his opinion with her on this subject. But even if he did, with all my admiration for this great dancer (by the way, does dancing make him an intellectual by definition)? we are still talking about three people including Nina, Roman confirmed, Baryshnikov very doubtful, and that hardly makes for a unanimous expression of opinion Russian intellectuals.
Well, if you want to know the truth, in the Soviet times it was exactly the same. When the Politburo loudly proclaimed a unanimous people's approval of anything, that actually meant that there were also two or three people in the whole country who took it seriously.
Now, I do not know if I'd pass Miss Khrushcheva's qualification for being an intellectual, but I for one definitely do not compare Bush to Brezhnev and am in full agreement with the Bush doctrine of fighting terrorism and all those who support it, including, of course, Saddam Hussein. Moreover I'd support Bush whether he does it with or without UN approval. I believe that America provided strong leadership and made a great sacrifice for the cause of freedom which in the long run will benefit not only the United States but many other countries whose politicians for different reasons have been and still trying to undermine an American effort.
It happens that I know quite a few real Russian intellectuals in US and without dropping the names I can assure you that most of them, at least in my circle, are delighted that George Bush won the election in 2000 and we now have a strong leader during these most difficult times of combating international terrorism. At the recent World Russian Forum in Washington and New York we had a lot of discussions on this subject and although I do not want to use the Soviet favorite word "unanimous," the majority of Russians were definitely behind George Bush.
To make my point more scientific we plan to conduct a poll through our newspaper Kontinent USA (www.kontinent.org), which, as it happens, we consider to be a Russian paper for intellectuals, because we try to publish only serious material and avoid sensations. We will report to you the results of our findings very soon, but one thing is already clear. No one nominated Miss Khrushcheva to speak either for Russian intellectuals or, for that matter, for any group of Russian emigres in the USA. She has a perfect right to speak for herself and so far it looks like she can add to this narrow group Roman Kaplan from Samovar, with Baryshnikov remaining a big question mark.
I know Miss Khrushcheva does not care for my advice, but her story would be a little bit more credible had she used her granddaddy's name instead of Brezhnev's. I do not think Nikita Sergeevich, by Nina's credentials probably another Russian intellectual, got UN permission to invade Hungary in 1956, and it was he who almost got us into nuclear war in 1961 when he installed ballistic missiles in Cuba. Sergo Mikoyan - the son of yet another Politburo member Anastas Mikoyan who was a very close associate of Khrushchev - told me from his Virginia home: "If one indeed wants to compare Bush to one of the Soviet leaders, Khrushchev would be more appropriate because he - like Bush - was also ready to take risks and behave like a cowboy." I'd add to this that Khrushchev's grammar was as bad as GW's. Sorry, George.
By the way, can someone explain to me why so many children and grandchildren of Russian Politburo members end up in US?