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Soviet Union

About Books: Mikhail Sholokhov

Russian novelists have a knack of cramming their stories with such a large number of characters that the majority of their non-Russian leaders get lost in the crowd. Adding to the confusion is the similarity of male and female Christian names and the addition of a suffix to the surname to denote the female. Again, it appears that the name by which a person is addressed depends on the relationship with the person who is addressing him. A stranger or a remote acquaintance will use the surname, a friend or close acquaintance will use the first Christian name whilst relatives and very close friends will address a person by his or her second Christian name. This use of different names to denote the same person becomes mystifying to most English readers.

Between the Lines: Much Ado About Nothing

There now follows . . .

Am I just getting more fed up or are party political broadcasts getting worse? One has only to hear those words, "There now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of . . . (Don't try turning over because we've stuck them on all channels)" to know that an insult to the public intelligence is about to be perpetrated. There was a time when these affairs were pretty simple efforts: Harold Wilson sitting behind a desk puffing lies in a fatherly sort of way or George Brown looking into the camera with the sincerity of a man who showed signs even then of ending up an SDP member of the House of Lords. In those days they would deliver their messages as abbreviated speeches and get off the screen. No we are in the age of hi-tech lying: video edited, maximum visual impact porky pies.

Russia's Tolpuddle Martyrs

The Guardian of March 3 devoted a lot of space to a report about some stirrings among would-be Russian trade-unionists and to a leading article and a letter on the same subject. Obviously the paper considers the matter to be of some importance and—who knows?—for a change they may have got something right.

The Truth About Russia

"Why don't you go back to Russia?" is the standard comment of the wage slave who stumbles across a socialist propagandist and cannot put up an argument. The fact that most socialists do not come from Russia and have been there does not deter the enthusiastic anti-socialists. But who can blame them? After all, the Communist Party is constantly telling them that Russia is socialist or communist. The Tory party use the myth of "Communist Russia" to discredit the socialist idea. The media will apply the label "Marxist" to any dictator who cares to use it.

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