RUSSIA REVISITED by Louis Fischer
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RUSSIA REVISITED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This book falls into two sections:- Return to Russia and Trouble in the Satellites. Viewed from these two angles, the book is of greater importance than the title would seem to indicate. Fischer has written in Part I a personal record of his return, his reappraisal of the conditions as he viewed them, following de-Stalinization, his recognition of the immense changes in release from surveillance, fear, control -- and of the minimum changes in economic levels, standard of living, blossoming of the arts. While release from fear of arrest, deportation, death is a step forward, there is still the menace of shackled minds, controlled expression of ideas, paucity of creative expression, ignorance of the facts of life in Russia and outside. He talked freely with old friends and new- with taxi drivers, hotel clerks, chance acquaintances. This was new... He sees de-Stalinization as a boon to upper classes and leaders; but he sees the economic and political edifice intact and reinforced...To me the most exciting part of the book was Part 2- in which he explores, as a journalist, rather than in personal terms, what is happening in the satellites:- the laggards,- Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Bulgaria and Albania; and the aggressive independents, Jugoslavia, Poland, Hungary. What is behind what is happening informs one on the background of the seeds and fruits of rebellion, and gives one hope that indeed the Moscow monolith is split. He ventures to prophesy tomorrow's moves:- the failure on Russia's part to hold the satellites by silent subjugation, by winning popular assent; the probable effort to sell something for nothing to the western powers in exchanging retirement of armed forces for disruption of NATO. Only- says he- in union, can the Western powers defeat her. This book posts its warning.

Publisher: Doubleday