Karakhan Takes a Pleasant Trip to Turkey

But, Unlike Trotsky, He is not Confined on an Island by Friend Kemal Pasha

(January 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 3, 18 January 1930, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The diplomatic representative of the Soviet Union, Karakhan has just made a triumphal voyage to Turkey. Everywhere, at Angora as at Constantinople, his passage was the occasion, for demonstrations of an exceptional warmth. In the course of his trip, he made some declarations to journalists which are interesting to note. The manner in which he spoke of official personages is pretty astonishing. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tewik Rushdi Bey, is his best “friend” and he “harbors feelings of the deepest respect” towards the president of the council, Ismet Pasha. The conventional language of diplomats it will be said. Perhaps, but of bourgeois diplomats, and in this domain as in the others, the Soviet Union must demonstrate that it is not a State like the others, that it is a proletarian State. Its diplomats should distinguish themselves, although not in the manner of Bessedovsky.

Nevertheless, it is not there that the most important point lies in the declarations of Karakhan. That which is serious and symptomatic, in our opinion, is that, upon arrival at Angora, the associate of the Soviet commissariat for foreign affairs cried:

“This city reflects the calm and firm security with which the new Turkey is built, which supports itself upon its own forces and puts its hopes in the creative force of its people and in them alone. What I have seen, especially in this regard, is not strange to me. They are the same ideas and the same state of mind that prevails in our country. We are building up our life, our material and intellectual culture by basing ourselves on the creative power of the peoples of our Union.”

Karakhan is too prudent a man to take a chance. When he speaks in this way, he is after all defending the official theory of the “construction of socialism in one country”, but by crudely demonstrating that this “socialism” resolves itself in the end into nationalism pure and simple. That is what permits him to say that Turkey and the Soviet Union have the “same ideas and the state of mind”. Moreover, in the course of his trip he was able to establish features already common to both . regimes. Kemal governs Turkey as an absolute autocrat by basing himself on a “monolithic” party and having workers who criticize it thrown into prison. Stalin is not Kemal; but the shallow and disgusting demonstrations ordered for his fiftieth anniversary show that he would like well enough to resemble him. His nationalism, which is blossoming today, is a fundamental trait of his political personality and was manifested on numerous occasions, particularly in 1922 during the constitution of the Soviet Union. It is Lenin himself who denounced it at that time, writing on December 31, 1922:

“It is evident that Stalin and Dzerzhinsky must be made politically responsible for this whole campaign of genuine Russian nationalism.”

Repelled and subdued as long as Lenin lived, Stalinist nationalism has since succeeded in imposing itself by methods that the Left Opposition does not cease to denounce and combat.

Last updated on 30 July 2015