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The Challenge of Change in the Soviet Bloc

John F. Kennedy meeting Nikita Khrushchev, 1961.

THE declaration issued by 81 Communist parties in Moscow last December 6 marks a seminal date in the history of international Communism. For the first time in the history of the Soviet bloc a conference of Communist leaders ended not merely with the usual "unanimous agreement" but also with a silent agreement to disagree. For the first time in about 35 years the general strategy of the Communist parties scattered around the globe is no longer to be set purely in terms of Soviet estimates of what will most benefit the interests of the Soviet Union. Cast aside is Stalin's categorical dictum that "a revolutionary is he who, without arguments, unconditionally, openly and honestly . . . is ready to defend and strengthen the U.S.S.R . . . . " What is good for the Soviet Union is no longer automatically also good for the Soviet bloc and for International Communism.

The Moscow conference thus highlights a process

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