Official anniversaries are for the Soviets not merely occasions to celebrate and eulogize a famous man or event. They are also-if not mainly- occasions for that self-congratulation of which the Soviet régime has made such a rite, and against which the most uninhibited patriotic oratory on a similar occasion in the United States would appear a pallid understatement. In fact, the U.S.S.R. celebrates its thanksgiving several times a year. In speeches and editorials the pretext for the celebration is usually disposed of in the first few sentences and perhaps reverted to again at the very end. In between (and it is usually at length) the listener or reader is treated to production figures then and now, to assurances about the invincible might of the Soviet Union, and yet of its peaceful intentions, of the startling achievements of Soviet science. . . .
Should the occasion be a major one and the speaker or writer a leading Party figure, this general prospectus of Soviet progress in all branches of endeavor would be supplemented by a kind of state-of-the-union-message survey of the troublesome and yet (due to the correct efforts of the Party and government) generally hopeful and reassuring domestic and international situation; of the threats to world communism from dogmatism and sectarianism on the one hand and of revisionism on the other, both being unmasked and overcome through correct remedies prescribed by the Central Committee; of the diversionist strivings of the Maoist clique which are increasingly perceived and resisted by the masses of the Chinese people, who are unwilling to abandon their traditional feelings of friendship and gratitude to the Soviet Union; of the dangerous game which Zionism, in alliance with imperialism, is playing in the Middle East, a game which is being patiently exposed and countered by the U.S.S.R.
While all these elements will be present in this year's massive celebrations of Lenin's hundredth anniversary, it is certain that, for a change, statistics, achievements and policy announcements
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