The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK—The Administration in Washington is reported to be happy over the recent changes in Moscow, but I am sure it is no happier than the rest of us.

It seems to me that all of us would like to see changes in the government of the Soviet Union brought about as they are in democratic countries—through the will of the people and with the acquiescence of the country's leadership.

This would not necessitate putting anyone under arrest or in exile. It would mean simply that the people had made their decision to have a new group in power, permanently or temporarily, and that those out of power must acquiesce.

Some of the Soviet leaders now deposed from power have served the people according to their lights for a long time. They may have acquiesced in Stalin's views either because of necessity or because of real conviction. But if the Soviets want the world to believe in a "people's government," then the final decision is in the hands of the people and any change is their will.

The rest of the world would view the whole Soviet experiment with far more respect and confidence if changes came about in this way.

Until it is possible to have differences of opinion in the Soviet Union without punishing those who differ and are temporarily out of power, there will be no feeling that this is a modern civilized government which accepts the will of the people.

If only the group that has the power counts in this whole thing, then one simply has to acknowledge that the Soviets now will be governed by Marshal Zhukov and the Red Army.

Many people in this country will say, therefore, that we have no confidence in the Soviet government and never should have. The first part of this statement is correct, but I feel we and the Soviet government should be working toward a point where we, together with other countries of the world, will have this confidence.

We should not, at least, have to feel that the Soviet people's destiny is controlled by the whim of a group with the greatest military power and, therefore, for the moment can force something on the people of that country without their having anything to say about it.

In the long run, even a totalitarian government must listen to the wishes of its people. So it is time, I think, for Marshal Zhukov and Premier Bulganin to give some thought to the need for developing respect and confidence in the Soviet government throughout the rest of the world.

They apparently do not want an atomic war, but to prevent such a war will require the respect and confidence of the rest of the world. And this can only be developed through proper procedures at home.


(Copyright, 1957, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 12, 1957

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.