IN THE LENS OF MENSHIKOV'S 80 YEARS
A Strategy for War-Avoidance
by Rachel Douglas
A Russian-American relationship centered on economic development can take the whole world off a track towards war, and open up prospects for betterment of the lives of people in all nations. That strategic fact has been implicit in world affairs, ever since Russia headed the League of Armed Neutrality during America's Revolutionary War against the British monarchy and London-centered finance. It was most efficient in Tsar Alexander II's defense of the Union during Abraham Lincoln's Civil War Presidency, and in the U.S.-Soviet alliance in World War II.
At the death of Franklin Roosevelt in 1945, his successor took FDR's vision of a decolonized, economically prospering post-war world off the agenda, and, with it, the hope of continuing Soviet-American interaction for economic development in the mutual and general interest. Instead, came the Cold War, an era of constant balancing on the brink of general warfare, and, increasingly, especially after the political upheavals of the 1960s in Europe and the U.S.A., of "bankers' dictatorship" in economic affairs.
The people who gathered in Moscow May 15-16, to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Russian economist Stanislav Menshikov, are uniquely situated to appreciate the possibility, and the necessity, of reviving Russian-American cooperation on the basis of Roosevelt's conception. Academicians, economists, former top Soviet journalists, and Communist Party consultants—members of the older generation, some of them having been leading figures in the Soviet Union during the Cold War—have a better appreciation than many younger people, of how indispensable the Russian-American relationship is.
Menshikov's adult life spans the World War II alliance, the Cold War, and its aftermath, when the Soviet bloc broke up in 1989-91. The congratulations and reminiscences offered at a special Russian Academy of Sciences meeting and a banquet in his honor, some of which we publish here, testify to his status as a thinker and activist, who has defied fixed habits of thinking about East-West relations, not to mention economic policy, since the 1950s.
Fluent in English since his childhood in a diplomatic family in London (his father, Mikhail Menshikov, went on to serve as Soviet Ambassador to the United States in the 1950s), Stanislav Menshikov repeatedly brought fresh approaches to understanding the U.S.A., into discussions inside the Soviet Union. One after another speaker at the May 15 jubilee session mentioned Menshikov's 1966 book Millionaires and Managers: The Structure of the Financial Oligarchy in the U.S.A. as an eye-opener that changed their view of the world. Two decades later, his publication in Russian of works by former New Deal advisor John Kenneth Galbraith shook the community of Communist Party economists and strategists, as Prof. Grigori Vodolazov recalled in a narrative poem, composed for the occasion, and read aloud by him at the May 16 banquet.
Being an intellectual maverick was not compatible with a smooth ride to the top in the U.S.S.R. More than once, Menshikov was yanked from one position or another. In 1986, he was booted out of the Communist Party Central Committee staff, as he relates in his just-published memoirs, for crossing the interests of other officials. He worked in Soviet foreign policy institutes, at the Academy's Novosibirsk outpost, on the United Nations economics staff, for the Central Committee, as a Pravda writer, and he has taught at universities in Europe, as well as Russia.
Menshikov invited Lyndon LaRouche as a guest of honor at his jubilee celebration. He also dedicated one of the final sections of his memoirs to LaRouche, citing there, as in the jubilee speech, LaRouche's policies of the Eurasian Land-Bridge and a New Bretton Woods monetary system, as pathways to a safer and happier world.
LaRouche, for his part, took the occasion to tell Russian audiences about his own efforts, especially in interaction with a layer of senior diplomats, military men, and other professionals in and around the U.S. institutions of government, to bring about a positive American response to the Russian government's own current campaign to revive the policies of FDR. How LaRouche laid out a "four-power strategy for war-avoidance" (the four powers being the U.S.A., Russia, China, and India), and the response to it by Prof. Menshikov, Academician Alexander Granberg, and others, unfolds in our package of documentation from Prof. Menshikov's jubilee celebration.