I Am From Moscow

Title:                      I Am From Moscow

Author:                 Yury Krotkov

Krotkov, Yuri (1967). I Am From Moscow: A View of The Russian Miracle. New York: Dutton

LCCN:    67020541

DK275.K7 A33 1967b

Subjects

Date Updated:  August 25, 2015

This is, of course, not a “spying book.” Nevertheless it emphasizes the importance of area studies before intelligence estimates are made. We might have avoided the Iraq and perhaps Vietnam debacles if we were better versed in what the social conditions were in those places before we barged in. Are we doomed to repeat our mistakes in Syria?

KIRKUS REVIEW

What will a film writer who defected from the Soviet Union in 1963 have to say about Russia and Communism? Much of Krotkov’s book is devoted to complaints about the scarcity of nylon, furniture, housing, and tourist permits. Admitting that he lacked the heart to stay and fight with his fellow artists for greater freedom of expression, he reveals his intellectual deficiencies as well. He seems far more upset about his personal inconveniences than about the faults of the trade unions or the workers’ resentment of the “parasitic classes.” He habitually confounds Marxism, Soviet Marxism and Russian administrative policies. He admires the variety of cars in Japan, but never mentions Libermanism[1] or shows any understanding of the priorities of industrial development.

Krotkov has a keen eye for corrupt, repressive and ridiculous practices (which he has hopefully kept open in his new home, Spain). But he fails to distinguish between cultural, technical and ideological factors. Born in 1917, he reflects the decay of revolutionary spirit far better than he analyzes it. His whining bypasses or distorts the genuine issues concerning Russia’s failure to realize socialist ideals. A better sense of proportion—and of history—would have made his sketches of party hacks, philistines, anti-Semites and crooks more compelling.

[1] Evsei Grigorievich Liberman was a Soviet economist who lived in Kharkiv, Ukraine. He taught at the Kharkov Engineering and Economic Institute, the Kharkiv V.I. Lenin Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Kharkiv. He proposed new methods of economic planning based on the principles of new democratic centralism. His dissertation took form in “Plan, benefit and prisms” published in Pravda (1962). This became a basis for the Soviet reforms of 1965. His most outstanding works were “Structure of The Balance of An Industrial Company” (1948), “Means to Raise The Profitability of The Socialist Companies” (1956), “Analysis of The Use of Resources” (1963), “Plan And Benefits For The Soviet Economy” (1965) and “Planning of the Socialism” (1967). Reforms inspired by Liberman successfully revitalized the Soviet economy during the 1960s. Liberman’s reform proposals were also implemented in East Germany. It has been argued that if he had not influenced reform in these countries, the economic situation would have deteriorated drastically, as the standard of living and the economy were stagnating.

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