My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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EN ROUTE TO JAPAN, Thursday—I saw a very interesting communication the other day in an Ohio paper and I think there are some ideas in what the writer puts forth which might be of value in our consideration of the propaganda war carried on by the Russian Soviets and our own response thereto.

The gentleman states that we should see the present ruling power in the Kremlin as it really is. The record shows the following: they are not revolutionists, but counterrevolutionists . Lenin and the Bolsheviks had no part in overthrowing the Czar. When the March, 1917 Revolution broke out, Lenin and his assistants were in Switzerland. Prince Lvov became president of a temporary Russian government and Kerensky, a social revolutionary, de facto premier. This temporary regime decreed absolute freedom of speech, press, assembly—even though at war with Germany—and called a constituent assembly to form a permanent government.

The writer goes on to say, how correct he is I don't know, that Kaiser Wilhelm made a deal with Lenin to send the Bolsheviks into Russia as his fifth column to plot the destruction of the free Republic, and restore an autocratic regime under a new name.

The gentleman feels that the Brest-Litovsk treaty was an abject and traitorous act against the people of Russia. He says the present regime are not leftists and Reds but rightists and whites—reactionaries beyond even Hitler, not socialists but renegade socialists who split off from the socialists in 1902-03.

This he says, is the reason why the real socialists have been their most determined and enlightened opponents everywhere , the first line of defense in Finland, Scandinavia, Western Germany, England and elsewhere.

Of course, the writer of this communication is one of the old socialists who has fought communism for a long, long time and he says what many informed people have been saying, namely, that the present Soviet government in the USSR is not Marxist. Karl Marx's goal was abolition of all political and bureaucratic rule in a democratic state, whereas Stalin and the present Kremlin power have curtailed the right of the people more and more. In fact the people have lost their right to action. That rests solely in the hands of the Kremlin government.

So, this gentleman insists that we should be attacking the Kremlin government, not as Communists, but as counter-revolutionists and arch conservatives who are serving the interests of the few who govern and not the interests of the people as a whole.

I thought this was an interesting point of view which might be of some value. Some of our statesmen might ponder it. The Russian propaganda today tries to create a picture of the United States which existed in the very early part of this century only. Perhaps we are overlooking also in our dealings with them the real picture of what actually exists in the Soviet today.



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, May 22, 1953

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.