Arthur Schlesinger, Air Tight

Svetlana Alliluyeva  

Ever cutting-edge, shed of it’s Boston shackles, The Atlantic responded to the death of Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva by going to the vaults, resurrecting a review by Arthur Schlesinger.

He was a fan, and using his historian glasses hunted up proof of Alliluyeva’s version of her mother’s death.

“There is independent testimony (Alexander Orlov, Alexander Barmine, Victor Serge, Victor Kravchenko) that Nadya was appalled by the violence, repression, and famine which came in the wake of the forced collectivization of the countryside. “

Of the four, Barmine is the only one playing a roll in the Lattimore case, but lets look at these guys.

Orlov spent the years of collectivization, Alliluyeva’s death and Stalin’s murder of most of the party leadership working abroad for Soviet intelligence in Berlin, the US, Vienna, London, and Copenhagen. He ended as intelligence chief in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, where while apparently brooding over Alliluyeva’s suicide four years previously turned grief into strength hunting down Spanish Trotskyists and shipping Spain’s gold reserves to Moscow.  He didn’t break with the Soviets until 1938, and didn’t surface his tales of the Kremlin until the US anti-communist market appeared in the fifties.

Barmine claimed to have known Stalin’s brother-in-law, who filled him on all the dope. Who knows, but Barmine’s constant discovery of new memories was on display in his Lattimore testimony, where, years after writing his post-Soviet memoir and debriefing the FBI, he suddenly recalled a fancy Soviet intelligence boss as mentor, and Lattimore’s participation in a preposterous Soviet scheme to smuggle arms into China.  To a province they already occupied.

Serge spent the late twenties and the thirties hounded as a dissident, in the Gulag and then in exile, and is fairly reliable on other matters. He claimed his information came from Kremlin gossipers he knew before his last imprisonment.

Kravchenko was a minor official who defected in the mid 40s while in New York for a wartime Soviet purchasing commission.

That these four told similar tales, years later and often with the benefit of each others books, tells us that they can read and write.

Schlesinger is the “Even The New Republic” of the Lattimore case, the liberal fig-leaf held up by a certain stratum of Lattimore-Was-Guilty-Of-Something-ists as showing that even one of their guys hated him.


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