Alzudas Kumza, 1990

Alzudas Kumza, Asst Sec of Ideology CP of Lithuania
Interviewed 18 Sept 1990 in Vilnius
Interviewer: Gwynne Dyer

He starts by talking about how they are going to have a party congress soon and their first secretary, Brauzalkas is going to have an important part to play in that. Part of their trouble results from the fact that here, perestroika is so far ahead of the other parts of the Soviet Union. Years ago the information was brought out in public about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and that the Baltic states were forcibly integrated into the Soviet Union. People in MOscow had a hard time understanding how that could have been done. They also didn’t understand the outbursts of emotion over Lithuanian independence. Now the Baltic states are ahead of any other parts of the SU in economic perestroika so the rest of the country will have to look to them.

Gwynne: If the Communists were not to be elected in the next election, would they withdraw in favor of any party that did happen to win?

Kumza: If we were an independent country, yes. The people here would be favorable to that; the people in Moscow would not. In the local elections, very few communists were elected, it was mostly Sajudis who were elected. The strength of the apparatus will be weakened in any case because many local communists are not following the directives of the apparatus. Although the communists will certainly be voted out, they include some fine people. The new people may not be the best.

Dyer asks him how he happened to join the communist party and he replies that as a young man there was no other way to participate in public life. There are many things in the party statements that anybody could subscribe to, they are very humanitarian, so I didn’t feel that I was not telling the truth.

Many people genuinely did not know the history of their party and how corrupt it had been and what had been done to repress Eastern Europe. We really didn’t know about the NKVD, about Trotsky, about the horrors. It’s been only 3-4 years that they have been learning about these things. Roy Medvedev spoke out about Stalin. Solzhynitsin. On further reflection, if I were starting all over again, I wouldn’t join the CP. There are some things about the party that I don’t like, such as the fact that it still holds the belief in the dictatorship of the proletariat and I don’t believe that there is any one class that has a special monopoly on truth or insight. If I were starting as a young man now I would join a Social Democratic Party.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books