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Source: Bol'shevik: Theoretical and Political Magazine of the Central Committee of the ACP(B), Issue #5, 15 March 1949, pp. 30-41.

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Original Russian text

Bourgeois Cosmopolitanism and its reactionary role

by F. Chernov

[1 -- COSMOPOLITANISM infiltrates Soviet arts, sciences, history.]

The lead editorials in "Pravda" and "Kultura i Zhizn'" ("Culture and Life") newspapers unmasked an unpatriotic group of theatre critics, of rootless cosmopolitans, who came out against Soviet patriotism, against the great cultural achievements of the Russian people and of other peoples in our country.

Appearing as messengers and propagandists for bourgeois ideology, the rootless-cosmopolitans fawned over and groveled before decadent bourgeois culture. Defaming Soviet socialist culture, they praised to the heavens that which was found in the emaciated and decayed conditions of bourgeois culture. In the great culture of the Russian people they saw echos and rehashings of Western bourgeois culture.

Harmful and corrupting petty ideas of bourgeois cosmopolitanism were also carried over into the realms of Soviet literature, Soviet film, graphic arts, in the area of philosophy, history, economic and juridical law and so forth.

The rootless-cosmopolitan Subotsky tried with all his might to exterminate all nationality from Soviet literature. Foaming at the mouth this cosmopolitan propagandist hurls epithets towards those Soviet writers, who want "on the outside, in language, in details of character a positive hero" to express his belonging to this or that nationality."

These cosmopolitan goals of Subotsky are directed against Soviet patriotism and against Party policy, which always has attached great significance to the national qualities and national traditions of peoples. Lenin spoke out at the 8th Party Congress against the Trotskyite Pyatakov, who had suggested (as a provocation) to eliminate the point about national self-determination from the Party programme, saying, "This could be done, if there were people without national characteristics. But there are no such people, and we cannot build a socialist society any other way. (Works, Vol. 24, p. 156).

In mockery of literary works showing the superior qualities of Soviet people, Subotsky competed with the notorious cosmopolitan Yuzovsky. Yuzovsky venomously sneered that "across the lips of 'positive heroes' in these works," there "inevitably plays such a 'Marxist smile,' that the positive hero of Soviet dramatic art knows all, sees all. For to him, everything is simple, everything is clear." Thus under the flag of struggle against a supposed "primitivism" in the portrayal of the positive hero, the rootless-cosmopolitan Yuzovsky tried to discredit the new traits distinctive to Soviet people. For Yuzovsky is sickened by this fact, that Soviet dramatic art, reflecting the truth of life, shows that the Soviet people is a victorious people, that the Soviet man, overcoming hardships with fortitude, can gain victory over the enemy, is able to guarantee the victory of the new over the old.

By these antipatriotic exertions Yuzovsky sought to slander the Soviet people, to belittle their national dignity, to sow lack of faith in the ability of Soviet people to overcome any difficulties and achieve an intended goal, shown by the entire thirty year practice of Communist construction.

It is well known to Soviet people what a high valuation Comrade Stalin gave to the Russian people, pointing out that inherent to the Great-Russian people are such remarkable qualities as a lucid mind, a firm character, an absence of haste, and a wise patience.

The rootless-cosmopolitan Gurvich, echoing long-discredited hostile slanders against the Great-Russian people, shamelessly libeled them, and ascribed to the Russian people the most repulsive qualities.

An antipatriotic group of rootless-cosmopolitans in theatre criticism aspired to spread national nihilism, alien to Marxism-Leninism and deeply inimical to the Soviet people.

National nihilism is a manifestation of the antipatriotic ideology of bourgeois cosmopolitanism, disrespect for the national pride and the national dignity of peoples. Comrade Stalin said: "National nihilism only injures the cause of socialism, acting as a tool for bourgeois nationalists." (Works, Vol. 4, p. 91). Comrade Stalin strongly spoke out against those who suggested that "the struggle with nationalism must at the same time throw away everything that is national." (Works, Vol. 5, p. 311). National nihilism in our conditions is a form of struggle chosen by rootless-cosmopolitans against Soviet patriotism, against Soviet culture (national in form, socialist in content); it is a display of their cringing before bourgeois culture. In this way, national nihilism with its attitude towards the Great Russian people and the other peoples of our nation, time and again was linked [in the minds of] rootless cosmopolitans with bourgeois nationalism, which today is inseparably tied with the cosmopolitan ideology of the imperialist bourgeoisie.

In the area of philosophy, advocates of paltry cosmopolitan ideas led a campaign against the great traditions of the Russian people in science and philosophy; they advocated national nihilism. In the creations of the great exemplars of Russian materialistic philosophy - Lomonosov, Radishchev, Hertzen, Belinsky, Chernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov - they merely saw imitations of Western European philosophy, borrowings from it.

National nihilism in philosophy became apparent first of all in its scornful attitude towards the legacy of Great-Russian culture. An article by Z. Kamensky "On the question of tradition in Russian materialist philosophy of the 18th and 19th centuries," published in "Voprosy Filosofii" ("Questions of Philosophy") magazine, was a slander of the luminaries of Russian materialist-philosophical thought, and depicted it as only a more or less fortunate follower of Western European philosophies.

Professor B. Kedrov allowed into his works on philosophy and the history of science an array of serious errors and distortions of the anti-Marxist cosmopolitan type. B. Kedrov "proved" and defended the anti-Marxist thesis according to which questions of priority in science were meaningless, and rejected the significance of priority by Russian scientists.

The question about the priority of leading Russian science, literature, and art, about the primacy of Soviet socialist culture is one of the most acute questions of the struggle of socialism against capitalism. Socialist culture represents a superior type of culture, a superior civilization, confirming its superiority over bourgeois culture. The enemies of socialism, nourishing malicious hatred towards the Soviet Union which comes in the advance guard of the forces of democracy and socialism in the whole world, are bent on weakening by every means the day to day growth of the international authority of the USSR, and of its great moral and political prestige. Hence the efforts of enemies of socialism to defame the Soviet Union, to suppress its great economic and cultural achievements, to suppress or dishonestly deny the primacy of Soviet science and engineering, and the immense superiority of Soviet literature and art. Hence their spiteful maltreatment of the culture of the Great Russian people, being the most distinguished nation of all the nations of the USSR, the leading force in the Soviet multinational state. The enemies of the USSR set in motion the basest machinations, so as to appropriate for themselves the achievements of the scientific figures of the Russian people and other peoples of the USSR, lying in order to ascribe primacy in the line of major scientific discoveries to foreign bourgeois scientists to the detriment of the indisputable primacy of the scientists of our country.

The question about the primacy of progressive Russian science, of Soviet science is crucial, a vitally important question for the Soviet people and the socialist state. Therefore, the statement of Kedrov about the immateriality of the question about priority in science plays into the hands of the enemies of the Soviet government.

In his cosmopolitan denial of any significance whatsoever of national aspect in the development of philosophy, Kedrov went so far as the assertion that "To construct a history of world philosophy, it follows first of all that it is not done by countries, nor by basing it on national distinctions and features, but instead by major historical epochs..." ("Questions of Philosophy" No. 1, p. 43 (1947)).

Here, Kedrov's cosmopolitan orientation is obvious, advocating a scornful attitude toward the character of nations, towards their distinctive qualities, making up the contribution of nations to world culture. Denying the role of national aspect and national distinctive features in the development of science and philosophy, Kedrov spoke out for "solidarity" with reactionary representatives of so-called stateless and classless "universal" science. Meanwhile, the slogan "united world science" is profitable only to our class enemies.

In his writings, I. Kryvelyov dragged into "Voprosy Filosofii" magazine harmful antipatriotic, cosmopolitan petty ideas. In articles on military matters, he found fault with Russian military strategy and Russian military skill. In Kryvelyov's deeply flawed article "Towards the Description of German Military Ideology," he offers an outrageous example of bourgeois objectivism and servility before things foreign. Consisting almost entirely of quotations plucked out of writings by German racists and militarists, this article is an antipatriotic, objectivist account of predatory German-fascist military ideology. Discussing the victory of the Soviet Army over German fascism, Kryvelyov did not devote a single word to Soviet patriotism - the source of the heroism of Soviet people.

The forms in which bourgeois-cosmopolitan petty ideas are dragged into the area of ideology are multifarious: from concealment of better products of socialist culture to direct denigration of it; from denial of the world-historical significance of Great Russian culture and elimination of respect for its traditions to the frank propagation of servility before decadent bourgeois culture; from the spreading of national nihilism and negation of the significance of the question of priority in science to the slogan about "international solidarity" with bourgeois science and so forth and so on. But the essence of all these forms is this antipatriotism, this propaganda of bourgeois-cosmopolitan ideology setting its goal of spiritual disarmament of the Soviet people in the face of aggressive bourgeois ideology, the revival of remnants of capitalism in peoples' consciousness.

[Scroll ahead to Section 2: the Party counterattacks.]

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