Although many superficial changes have appeared in Soviet society since the death of Stalin, it is unlikely that long-range Soviet policy has undergone any basic revision, three University experts on Russia agreed last night.
In pursuing an apparently conciliatory policy toward the West, the Malenkov regime is consolidating its control with out abandoning its fundamental aim of national expansion, the speakers told a large crowd at the Liberal Union Forum in Winthrop Junior Common Room.
Merle Fainsed, professor of Government, expressed doubt that recent Soviet industrial reports advocating increased production of consumer goods signify a de-emphasis of the manufacture of war materials. "The Soviet Union is still engaged in a race to outstrip the West in armaments." Fainsed declared.
"It would be the height of folly to conclude that the new course on which the Malenkov regime has embarked is an abandonment of the top priority Stalin gave to heavy industry," Fainsod said. "The new Soviet peace line is an old line," he concluded.
When Stalin died, a long-standing conflict in Soviet policy emerged again to plague the new rulers of Russia, Adam Ulam, assistant professor of Government, told the audience. One faction, probably heded by ousted Security Chief Lavrentl Beris, appears to have favored a genuine relaxation of tension with the Western powers, Ulam said.
The Stalin Pattern
But with Beria's downfall and the triumph of Malenkov, the Soviet government seems to have decided to continue Stalin's emphasis on the Marxist theme of conflict with the non-Communist world. "Essentially, what is happening is politically not very different from the Stalin pattern of the last 25 years," Ulam stated.
The third speaker, Alex Inkeles, research fellow in the Russian Research Center, pointed to the still unchanged to talitarian character of the Soviet state as further evidence that no real shift has taken place in Russian goals. "I am forced to conclude that there is not the alightest evidence of any fundamental change or even the expressed intent to change any of the structural features of that Society," Inkeles emphasized.
"We may have to face the same society, perhaps actually strengthened, and still pursuing the program Stalin left as a sort of legacy to his successors," Inkeles said.